New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 23, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
Tuesday, May 23,1996 ■ Herald-Zeitung ■ 3Supreme Court rules against term limit for Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) — States nay not limit the terms anyone serves in Congress, the Supreme Court ruled today, striking down as unconstitutional a step taken by Arkansas similar to measures in 21 other states.
The broadly worded, 5-4 decision could put more pressure on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that would limit anyone in the House or Senate to a fixed number of terms.
But the ruling also closes down one avenue — states acting alone — to imposing such limits.
The ruling likewise closed out any attempt in Congress to impose term limits through merely enacting a statute. The court said a constitutional amendment is the needed route. '
State-imposed term limits for state political offices are not affected by today’s ruling.
Passage of such a constitutional amendment, disfavored by some Republican leaders, has proved difficult so far. It requires a two-thirds vote in each chamber. And once enacted by Congress, any proposed amendment would have to be ratified by 38 states.
The House rejected a proposed term-’imits constitutional amendment ear-ier this year, but Speaker Newt Gin-pich has vowed to place the issue atop he agenda at the beginning of the next Congress.
Congressional reaction to today’s decision also could loom large as an
issue in the 1996 elections.
Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., a term-limits backer, said, “We will bring the term limits constitutional amendment to the Senate floor at the earliest possible date.”
But Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., said, “Personally, I continue to believe that term limits are an intrusion on the people’s right to choose their own representatives, and would place smaller states like Nebraska at a disadvantage.” “This is a decision that will cause a lot of politicians in Washington to pop the corks on their champagne bottles,” said Paul Jacob of U.S. Term Limits. “I’ve got a message for them — drink up. You’re outnumbered. They’re going to wake up tomorrow and find out the American people are still going to want term limits.”
Writing for the court, Justice John Paul Stevens said the Constitution’s framers intended “that neither Congress nor the states should possess the power to supplement the exclusive qualifications set forth in (its) text.” The court also rejected the notion that Arkansas’ term-limit measure, which disqualifies someone from being listed on the state ballot, is really only an election regulation.
“In the absence of a properly passed constitutional amendment,” Stevens said in the court’s 61-page majority opinion, “allowing individual states to craft their own qualifications for Con-
Former Youth Minister May Have Fled State With 15-Year-Old Girl
ODESSA, Texas (AP) — A former youth minister who may have fled the state with a 15-year-old girl is being sought by Midland police and the FBI.
The FBI filed a criminal complaint Friday against Charles G. Adair III, charging him with unlawfully fleeing the state to avoid prosecution on the charge of sexual assault of a child.
Adair received that charge May 17, four days after the unidentified girl’s family reported her missing. The girl was a member of Adair’s youth group at the Golf Course Road Church of Christ in Midland.
Midland Police Sgt. David Garcia said the FBI’s help with the investigation is appreciated.
“They are far reaching. They are all over the United States,” Garcia said of the FBI. “With these guys helping us look, it will make the tracking process a lot better.”
Chum of Holicoptor Crash Under Investigation
DOUGLAS, Ariz. (AP) — Investigators had yet to determine what caused a fatal crash of an Army observation helicopter while it was on a training mission in support of the U.S. Border Patrol.
The OH-58C Kiowa scout aircraft from Fort Hood, Texas, went down about 9:30 p.m. Sunday about 15 miles northwest of the Douglas-Bisbee airport, Army officials said Monday.
Killed were Chief Warrant Officer Kevin L. Jenkins, 34, and Warrant Officer John D. Peterson, 29, both of Copperas Cove, Texas, according to Fort Hood officials.
The unarmed chopper went down in a rugged mountainous area about 30 minutes after taking off on the routine night training mission, Fort Hood officials said. Weather was reported clear.
The chopper was one of three helicopters involved in a training mission in support of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Nous* Vote* Down Halo Crimes Bill
AUSTIN (AP) — A bill championed by the state’s gay and lesbian lobby as an answer to a recent rash of violent crimes against homosexuals has been defeated in the Texas House.
The measure would have toughened penalties for crimes motivated by race, color, disability, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.
It was an attempt to clarify a law passed by the Legislature in 1993 that targets offenses based on “bias and prejudice.” Law enforcement officials
‘This is a decision that will causa a lot of politicians in Washington to pop the codes on their champagne bottles. I’ve got a message for them — drink up. You’re outnumbered.’
— Paul Jacob, U.S. Term Limits
grass would thus erode the structure envisioned by the framers... to form a more perfect union.”
Stevens was joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Brayer.
Justice Clarence Thomas authored an 88-page dissent, in which he was joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Antonin Scalia.
“Nothing in the Constitution deprives the people of each state of the power to prescribe eligibility requirements for the candidates who seek to represent them in Congress,” Thomas said. “The Constitution is simply silent on this question.”
say the statute is too vague and may be unconstitutional.
The House voted 70-68 Monday to prevent the bill from being considered, most likely killing the measure in the final week of the legislative session.
Former Congressman Upbeat As He Enters Prison
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Albert Bustamante’s face betrayed no sign of fear or sorrow while his last minutes of freedom ticked off the clock.
As the federal prison camp where he will spend the next 36 months loomed closer Monday, the former congressman chatted about golf, admired El Paso’s warm weather and boasted that one of his children was applying to Harvard University.
Only on occasion during the ride from the El Paso International Airport to the Fort Bliss prison did he pause to rip the government for prosecuting him on charges of bribery and racketeering.
“What’s so insulting in this is the way that the government really went after it. They just put so much expense into it,” said the 60-year-old San Antonio Democrat, who was defeated in 1992 by Republican Henry Bonilla amid continuing reports of the investigation.
Bustamante was convicted in 1993 of accepting a bribe and using his office to engage in criminal enterprise. He flew into El Paso unescorted Monday afternoon, with nothing but the clothes he was wearing and some spending money, to begin his three-year sentence at the minimum-securi-ty camp at Biggs Army Airfield on the sprawling Fort Bliss installation.
Man Offers Reward for Information On Missing Wife
DALLAS (AP) — An Arlington man charged with murdering his exwife 17 years ago is offering a $25,000 reward for information to help find his most recent wife, whose disappearance has sparked suspicion she was killed.
Jack Reeves onginally had 200 fliers printed offering a $5,000 reward for information about his ex-wife, Emili-ta. Reeves now has decided to increase the reward, Ball said.
Reeves, a 54-year-old retired Army sergeant, is out on bond awaiting trial in the 1978 death of Sharon Reeves, 34. She was found dead in July 1978 of a shotgun blast iii her Copperas Cove home. Her death was listed as a suicide until earlier this year when Arlington police, investigating Emilita’s disappearance, found evidence they say links Reeves to Sharon Reeves’ death.
Skid, Mom & Alexis
Arkansas voters amended their state constitution in 1992 to limit how many times someone could appear on the ballot. Those who had served two six-year terms in the Senate or three two-year terms in the House could mn, but only as write-in candidates.
The measure was challenged successfully by the League of Women Voters of Arkansas. The state Supreme Court ruled that states cannot add to the Constitution’s list of qualifications for congressional membership — minimum age, state residency and U.S. citizenship for a number of years.
Arkansas officials appealed, saying another constitutional provision, giving states the power to control the “times, places and manner” of elections, means state-imposed term limits are lawful.
The Clinton admipistration argued that states have no such power.
Today, the nation’s highest court, agreed.
Noting that debates over term limits date back to the framing of the Constitution, Stevens offered this summary of both sides:
“Term limits, like any other qualification for office, unquestionably restrict the ability of voters to vote for whom they wish. On the other hand, such limits may provide for the infusion of fresh ideas and new perspectives, and may decrease the likelihood that representatives will lose touch with their constituents.”
Stevens added: “It is not our province to resolve this longstanding debate. We are, however, firmly convinced that allowing the states to adopt term limits for congressional service would effect a fundamental change in the constitutional framework.”
The court found little guidance from two of its previous decisions cited most often by both sides in the constitutional debate over term limits.
Proponents cited a f974 decision in which the court upheld a California law denying a place on the ballot to a would-be independent candidate if that candidate had registered as a party candidate or voted in the immediately preceding primary election.
Opponents cited a 1969 high court ruling that barred the House from excluding a member who met the age, citizenship and residency qualifications spelled out in the Constitution.
Disgruntled voters who think career politicians have lost touch with them have made term limits a political whirlwind since 1990, when Colorado voters adopted the first congressional
But opponents to term limits contend voters already have the power to limit the terms of members of Congress by simply refusing to re-elect incumbents.
They argue that a term-limits amendment will result in a Congress run by amateur politicians influenced too much by career staff members and spe-cial-interest lobbyists.
Besides Arkansas and Colorado, congressional term limits were approved by Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
New Hampshire’s governor last week signed into law a term-limits restriction for Congress. But that law was not to take effect until term limits were in place in 24 states.
The case is U.S. Term Limits vs. Thornton, 93-1456.
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