During his announcement of his 2024 presidential bid, former President Donald Trump called on Republicans to use their control of the majority of the nation's state legislative bodies to call forth a mandatory constitutional convention to add congressional term limits to the nation's ruling document.
Trump said he would work to impose term limits on members of the US Senate and the US House of Representatives.
The MAGA branch of the Republican party currently controls 33 state legislatures, the bare minimum needed for the state's to call a mandatory constitutional convention under Article 5 of the US Constitution. Article 5 says that either Congress may propose amendments or that a convention of states can propose amendments if at least 2/3rds of all US state legislatures agree to call such a convention. Congress would have no power to stop state's from holding a convention and changing the constitution if the 2/3rds requirement is reached. Two thirds today would be 33 US states, the exact number that are now controlled by MAGA thanks to last week's election.
The proposal is likely to be the most popular part of Trump's 2024 platform but some want it to go further and include the Supreme Court in the term limits. Some on social media are saying they want members of the Supreme Court to be limited to just one year of service each.
Article 5 states, "The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments.."
This requires Congress to follow the orders of the MAGA states to call a mandatory convention that all US states will be required to participate in.
However once 33 states have approved the issue of the mandatory convention, proposed amendments would require 38 states to achieve full ratification and become an actual part of the Constitution, the highest law in the United States.
The 38 state requirement for full ratification means that MAGA states will need the support of at least 5 Democrat majority states in order for any amendments to become part of the official highest law of the land.
It's an open question whether Democrats will support term limits on members of Congress, let alone whether they support terms limits for members of the Supreme Court.
Under the Congressional route to convention, it only takes 13 states to block the convention itself. The Constitution states that ratification or rejection of amendments is primarily the responsible of each state's elected legislatures but that the legislature's may delegate this responsibility to the people of the state via state level constitutional conventions. Most US states are expected to decide the issue in the legislatures but in states where the state constitution mandates conventions to handle such things, the fate of the amendment will be decided by convention instead.
Nearly all the states controlled by MAGA do not require conventions for approving amendments, granting that power exclusively to the state's legislature. State governors do not have the power to veto a legislature's ratification of a federal constitutional amendment. However, states like California would be required to submit such an amendment to their people via the state level convention process or by referendum.
The California legislature, unlike say the Kentucky legislature, does not have the power to just approve or dispprove a federal amendment but must instead schedule a referendum convention so that California voters can decide the issue.