Thursday, August 8, 2013

Term Limits Don't Stop Tyrants

Here is the text of my letter to Senator Rand Paul in response to the petition he is now circulating in favor of term limits for U.S. senators and representatives:

August 8, 2013

Dear Senator Paul,

First of all, I thank you sincerely for the excellent service you have rendered thus far to the state of Kentucky and to our nation as a U. S. Senator. Please keep up the great work you are doing to restore America's former greatness based on religion, morality, and Constitutional principles.

As a devout Catholic American, registered voter, author, and Tea Party activist from the neighboring state of Virginia, I fully support and applaud your noble efforts to protect the right to life of the innocent unborn, to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman, to defend our religious liberties and moral conscience rights from the unjust encroachments of a tyrannical regime (the Obama administration), to hold that administration accountable for its egregious abuses of power, to reform our tax system, to reduce the size of government, and to help struggling Americans during these difficult economic times. I am with you one hundred percent on most of the issues our country faces, and I'm pleased to sign most of the petitions you pass along.

However, I cannot in good conscience sign your most recent petition, "Term Limits for Members of Congress," because I do not support such term limits for our elected representatives in the federal government. Our nation's Founding Fathers prudently counseled against arbitrarily limiting the number of terms that any federal public official, including the President, may serve. They believed that their continuance in office should depend on the support and vote of their constituents, and not be artificially constrained by legal term limits. I agree completely with the Founders in this regard, and believe that their arguments against term limits are still valid today.

Mr. Senator, I respectfully urge you to consider the Founders' reasoning on this issue carefully before rushing to enact arbitrary term limits for members of Congress. Such term limits would function as a double-edged sword. You and other supporters of term limits are well-intentioned and striving to protect our nation from tyrannical leaders, but if such restraints were put in place, they would also prevent the voters from re-electing outstanding Senators and Representatives who have served them well and would continue to do so if given the opportunity. (Your father's distinguished career in the House, for example, would have been cut short many years ago if his fine service had been restricted to just three terms. I could say the same for dozens of other current and past Representatives as well as for some Senators who have been re-elected multiple times, serving their state and country well over many years.)

The Founders' reasoning is equally applicable to the office of the President of the United States. I have no problem with the fact that American voters gave FDR four terms. Our country needed his leadership at the time, and although I would disagree with some of his policy decisions, he was nonetheless a good President. However, I do have a problem with the fact that the states decided to arbitrarily prevent any future president from serving more than two terms in office. This artificially restricts the service of good Presidents to no more than eight years and prevents the voters from re-electing a good President whose continuance in office would be beneficial to our country. At the same time, the Twenty-Second Amendment to our Constitution will not stop a determined tyrant from retaining the office of President for as long as he wishes. If such a tyrant is determined to take over our nation, he will not allow Constitutional term limits or any other laws to stand in his way, because a tyrant has no regard for the rule of law in the first place. For these reasons, I strongly favor the repeal of the Twenty-Second Amendment.

I also believe that U.S. Supreme Court justices should be subject to review and re-confirmation by Congress and the President every ten years, and I would support a new Constitutional Amendment to this effect.

Thank you for considering my views on this issue of term limits. Please be assured of my continued prayers and support as you carry out your mission of service to your state and to this great country.

Sincerely yours,

Justin Soutar

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