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U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton - Significance, Arkansas Rejects Career Politicians, The Qualifications Clause And Other Prohibitions, Dissent: An Ironic Ruling

amendment petitioner lawyers decision


U.S. Term Limits, Inc.


Ray Thornton, Winston Bryant, Bobbie Hill

Petitioner's Claim

That Amendment 73 to the Arkansas Constitution, which limited the terms of officials elected to office in the legislative branch of the federal government, does not violate the Qualifications Clause or any other part of the U.S. Constitution.

Chief Lawyers for Petitioner

George O. Jernigan, Jr., Richard F. Hatfield, Winston Bryant

Chief Lawyers for Respondents

Doyle L. Webb, Stephen Engstrom, Elizabeth J. Robben, Sherry P. Bartley

Justices for the Court

Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony M. Kennedy, David H. Souter, John Paul Stevens (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

22 May 1995


That the "Term Limits Amendment" would erode the structure designed by the framers to form a `more perfect Union"; accordingly, the amendment was judged unconstitutional.

Related Cases

  • McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316 (1819).
  • Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486 (1969).
  • Bullock v. Carter, 405 U.S. 134 (1972).
  • FERC v. Mississippi, 456 U.S. 742 (1982).
  • Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, 469 U.S. 528 (1985).
  • United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995).
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