Saturday, February 27, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1872


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified 65 years ago today, February 27, 1951.  The amendment stipulates that "no person shall be elected to the office of President more than twice."

As of the date of ratification, only one of the 33 men who served as the Chief Executive had been elected more than twice and that was President Franklin D. Roosevelt who was elected to a third term in 1940 and a fourth in 1944.

The first POTUS, George Washington, established the precedent of serving no more than two terms.  FDR's success of winning not only three terms but four led to the discussion in the Congress, after his death in 1945, of a constitutional limit of two terms.

The 22nd Amendment was proposed on March 21, 1947. The state of Maine was the first state to ratify on March 31, 1947.  My home state of Tennessee ratified on February 20, 1949.  JFK's home state of Massachusetts rejected the amendment on June 9, 1949.

Minnesota's ratification on February 27, 1952 made the 22nd Amendment the law of the land.  

As far as Congressman John F. Kennedy, he voted FOR the amendment.  In "A Conversation with the President" in December 1962, President Kennedy was asked if he still favored the amendment.  He said that he did, adding..."two terms are enough."

A reporter once asked JFK at a news conference if he favored term limits for congressmen and senators.  He laughed and said..."It's the kind of proposal I might consider in a post-presidential period...but not right now."

According to a post on "Hot Air" in August 2014, Noah Rothman quotes Larry Summers, an adviser to President Barack Obama, as saying..."many scholars regard the constitutional problematic."  One of the primary reasons for this view is that second terms are almost always unsuccessful, and the reason for that is because the re-elected POTUS almost always "has to contend with a Congress stacked with members of the opposition party."

A very good example of this phenomenon is that while Democratic President Obama has the opportunity to name a new justice of the United States Supreme Court,  he is faced with the very likely prospect that his nominee not only will not be confirmed but most likely will not even be allowed a hearing thanks to the wishes of the majority Republican party.


"VOX: Obama can't govern, so lets repeal the 22nd Amendment," by Noah Rothman, August 13, 2014,

22nd Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States
National Archives Image