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originally posted by: schuyler
No, we can't all agree. If we cancelled that amendment, Obama would still be President, or Clinton. We need some churn.
To begin with, congressional deliberations about the amendment were curtailed. For example, the House restricted debate to two hours. Furthermore, the discussions leading up to the proposing of the Twenty-second Amendment did not obviously suggest a consistent, clear legislative purpose. Lawmakers expressed, at various times, their interest in limiting a President's "service," "terms," "tenure," and "[eligibility for] reelection," without elaborating exactly how they understood these terms. Moreover, when Congress dropped early proposals to foreclose a person's eligibility for office if he had served in two prior terms and instead adopted the current text that focuses on limiting individuals twice elected to the presidency, it provided little explanation for this important shift beyond needing "compromise" as part of the lawmaking process. One should also note that the framers of the amendment did not obviously intend to create a two-term tradition in any narrow sense, because they specifically discussed allowing someone who became President through an "emergency" within the first two years of one term to secure election for two additional terms. We are therefore left with some uncertainty about the precise goals of the Twenty-second Amendment's creators.
Although numerous court opinions make passing reference to the Twenty-second Amendment, its parameters have not been systematically examined by the judiciary. No doubt the low profile of the amendment in the courts reflects limited interest in and opportunity for testing the provision.
The term limits protect us against a charismatic person becoming de-facto royalty.