The Constitution calls for a timely, routine, and orderly exchange of Congressional office.
Is it appropriate to allow the passive ordination of a Senator through the act of continuous and successive reelection? Strict legal interpretation of the Constitution seems to condone this act by not limiting the right of any individual to monopolize a congressional seat for more than the duration of time that person possesses adequate power to control the seat. William is not sure this was the intent of the Framers. When the Framers time period is considered alongside conditions/procedure and rules mandated by the Constitution for the purpose of establishing an orderly exchange of office, he believes one is likely to conclude the Framers intent was to restrict congressional service to a finite amount of time.
Nonetheless, there are still Senators who have sought to turn a prescribed 6-year term into a lifelong career. These Senators are likely to justify their indefinite holding of office by referencing the 1995 Supreme Court case U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v Thornton. These Senators may even argue that at the Convention of delegates on June 12, 1787, the Committee of the Whole rejected and expunged a clause forbidding reelection for several years to the House of Representatives. It is also possible these Senators may expand their argument by noting that on June 23, 1787, the Convention of delegates rejected a provision making Members of Congress ineligible for office for one year after the expiration of their terms. These same Senators may go on to add that at the same time the delegates also rejected a concept of rotation of Members of Congress that was similar to the rotation of the delegates to Congress under the Articles of Confederation.
However, these are few and brief moments in history and neglect to accurately account fully for the parameters outlined in Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution. Within the first sentence of the referenced section, it calls for Senators from each State to be chosen for six years. The section continues by outlining in detail the process for dividing the Senate into three individual classes with staggered expiration of terms. This suggests the Framers held the expectation that if not the whole class, at a minimum a significant portion of the class would become new every two years while at the same moment maintain the majority of the whole Senate. By doing this, the Framers were able to ensure that the country would be consistently guided by mature leaders all the time and provide a pathway for the introduction of fresh governance. Further support for this interpretation may be found if one considers the difference between the average age of life expectancy at the time the U.S. Constitution was drafted, and the minimum age required of an individual to hold the office of Senate. By simply solving this elementary equation, it is easy to conclude there would have been very few within the Framers generation who would live long enough to serve much more than the
prescribed six-year term. Thus, it is most reasonable to believe the Framers intended for transitions to occur within a timely and organized manner. To not agree with this belief would be to adopt a contextualist interpretation and suggest that the simple absence of writing is sufficient justification to impose an alternative system of transition on the general electorate. Neither Governor appointment of Senators, nor rushed special elections widely controlled by corporate lobbies following the death of a Senator, should be accepted as the normal congressional transition process.
Mr. Barlow is not necessarily in opposition to an individual serving more than a single term. Nor does he suggest that there is not a certain wisdom in allowing for reelections. However, William has recognized a certain population of national leaders who have held public office for the entirety of his own life, while he has simultaneously stood witness to a series of deaths within active Congressional leadership. Although Mr. Barlow does not want to call into question the character or contribution of these current or past leaders, he is concerned that their unwillingness to voluntarily relinquish control of the offices they hold/held within a reasonable period of time is very alarming. Death is symbolic of an ending, an ending when viewed through the lens of governance aligns more commonly with oligarchies. These “Strong Man” forms of governance typically involve an inheritance of “power” to an heir apparent most commonly assigned by right of birth. Regardless of whether or not the succession of America’s national leadership is being adulterated by these seemingly too long or in some cases endless reigns, the inappropriately extended terms of service allow for the illusion of (or actual abuse of) power or prevailing corruption within the United State government to exist. Given the United States is the greatest democracy ever imagined by man, it should not regularly be subjected to the sadness of death, but instead be continuously refreshed and rejuvenated by fairly elected spirted leaders.