Thursday, January 14, 2010

Term Limits

Edward Fitzpatrick's piece in the Providence Journal ("Here's something for which to be thankful", Jan. 14, 2009) is on target. The judiciary must be independent of external forces and make judgments based on law and not be influenced by outside interests.

It seems to me that those very laws themselves should be also be made with the same principles in mind.

To paraphrase Judge Bruce Selya and Mr. Fitzpatrick, if a legislator has to stop and think, every time he or she decides an issue, about how that decision is going to play with the voters, that's got to be a substantial and negative influence on the decision making process. What's more, elected officials often raise campaign funds from lawyers and others with a vested interest in the outcomes of legislative deliberation which can be a corrupting influence that we really don't need.

It seems we have a huge challenge here. How can we remove the corrupting influences from democratic elections? Is it possible? Is it time to have a serious debate on term limits?