U. S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779, 7 (1995)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Cite as: 514 U. S. 779 (1995)

Opinion of the Court

taxpayers and registered voters," and the League of Women Voters of Arkansas, filed a complaint in the Circuit Court for Pulaski County, Arkansas, seeking a declaratory judgment that 3 of Amendment 73 is "unconstitutional and void." Her complaint named as defendants then-Governor Clinton, other state officers, the Republican Party of Arkansas, and the Democratic Party of Arkansas. The State of Arkansas, through its Attorney General, petitioner Winston Bryant, intervened as a party defendant in support of the amendment. Several proponents of the amendment also intervened, including petitioner U. S. Term Limits, Inc.

On cross-motions for summary judgment, the Circuit Court held that 3 of Amendment 73 violated Article I of the Federal Constitution.1

With respect to that holding, in a 5-to-2 decision, the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed. U. S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Hill, 316 Ark. 251, 872 S. W. 2d 349, 351 (1994). Writing for a plurality of three justices, Justice Robert L. Brown concluded that the congressional restrictions in Amendment 73 are unconstitutional because the States have no authority "to change, add to, or diminish" the requirements for congressional service enumerated in the Qualifications Clauses. Id., at 265, 872 S. W. 2d, at 356. He noted:

"If there is one watchword for representation of the various states in Congress, it is uniformity. Federal legislators speak to national issues that affect the citizens of every state. . . . The uniformity in qualifications man-1 The Circuit Court also held that 3 was severable from the other provisions of the amendment, but that the entire amendment was void under state law for lack of an enacting clause. App. to Pet. for Cert. in No. 93-1456, p. 60a. The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the Circuit Court's decision regarding severability, U. S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Hill, 316 Ark. 251, 270, 872 S. W. 2d 349, 359 (1994), and reversed its decision regarding the enacting clause, id., at 263, 872 S. W. 2d, at 355. The decision of the Arkansas Supreme Court with respect to those issues of state law is not before us.

785

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007