Connecticut Law Review Volume 43 - Issue 4

If It Quacks Like a Lame Duck, Can It Lead the Free World?: The Case for Relaxing Presidential Term Limits

This Essay explains why the post-war constitutional amendment limiting Presidents to two terms has been bad for our country. Since the amendment’s adoption, presidential second terms have been ineffective and plagued by scandal. Leading the country has become more difficult because the President’s political opponents and the broader citizenry understand the President’s days are officially numbered. Presidents are forced from office just at the point when leaders in other fields are beginning to hit their stride. And post-war tendencies towards political polarization and an activist judiciary can both be linked to the loss of a national leader who can lay claim to a long-term agenda. The Framers generally, and George Washington in particular, considered and rejected presidential term limits. The Essay suggests we should move closer to the original constitutional structure by amending the Constitution to permit three consecutive presidential terms and an opportunity to run for a fourth term after four years out of office.

:: View PDF