U. S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779, 22 (1995)

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Opinion of the Court

constitutions and laws can neither add to nor take away from them"); C. Burdick, Law of the American Constitution 160 (1922) ("It is clearly the intention of the Constitution that all persons not disqualified by the terms of that instrument should be eligible to the federal office of Representative"); id., at 165 ("It is as clear that States have no more right to add to the constitutional qualifications of Senators than they have to add to those for Representatives"); Warren 422 ("The elimination of all power in Congress to fix qualifications clearly left the provisions of the Constitution itself as the sole source of qualifications").14 This impressive and uniform body of judicial decisions and learned commentary indicates that the obstacles confronting petitioners are formidable indeed.

Petitioners argue that the Constitution contains no express prohibition against state-added qualifications, and that Amendment 73 is therefore an appropriate exercise of a State's reserved power to place additional restrictions on the choices that its own voters may make. We disagree for two independent reasons. First, we conclude that the power to add qualifications is not within the "original powers" of the States, and thus is not reserved to the States by the Tenth Amendment. Second, even if States possessed some original power in this area, we conclude that the Framers in-14 More recently, the commentators have split, with some arguing that state-imposed term limits are constitutional, see, e. g., Gorsuch & Guzman, Will the Gentlemen Please Yield? A Defense of the Constitutionality of State-Imposed Term Limitation, 20 Hofstra L. Rev. 341 (1991); Hills, A Defense of State Constitutional Limits on Federal Congressional Terms, 53 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 97 (1991); Safranek, Term Limitations: Do the Winds of Change Blow Unconstitutional?, 26 Creighton L. Rev. 321 (1993), and others arguing that they are not, see, e. g., Lowenstein, Are Congressional Term Limits Constitutional?, 18 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Policy 1 (1994); Eid & Kolbe, The New Anti-Federalism: The Constitutionality of State-Imposed Limits on Congressional Terms of Office, 69 Denver L. Rev. 1 (1992); Comment, Congressional Term Limits: Unconstitutional by Initiative, 67 Wash. L. Rev. 415 (1992).

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