U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton

514 U.S. 779 (1995)


In a 1992 general election, the voters of Arkansas adopted Amendment 73 to their State Constitution. Proposed as a 'Term Limitation Amendment,' its preamble stated: 'The people of Arkansas find and declare that elected officials who remain in office too long become preoccupied with reelection and ignore their duties as representatives of the people. Entrenched incumbency has reduced voter participation and has led to an electoral system that is less free, less competitive, and less representative than the system established by the Founding Fathers. Therefore, the people of Arkansas, exercising their reserved powers, herein limit the terms of the elected officials.' The Amendment prohibits the name of an otherwise-eligible candidate for Congress from appearing on the general election ballot if that candidate has already served three terms in the House of Representatives or two terms in the Senate. Hill (P) filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that § 3 of Amendment 73 is 'unconstitutional and void.' On cross-motions for summary judgment, the Circuit Court held that § 3 of Amendment 73 violated Article I of the Federal Constitution. The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed. The State of Arkansas, by its Attorney General, and the intervenors (D) petitioned for writs of certiorari.