North Dakota Becomes First State to Enact Age Limits on Federal Lawmakers

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North Dakota voters have approved a measure to become the first state to set a maximum age for federal representatives, though lawmakers expect it to be challenged in court.

The ballot measure will cap the age of congressional representatives and senators from the state at 80 and is set to go into effect immediately after passing, which it did on Tuesday. 

Voters favored the age limit by a large margin, with 61 percent voting “yes” and just 39 percent voting “no,” the Associated Press reported

The state’s three current federal lawmakers are safe from the cut-off, as their ages range from 47 to 67.

While the measure passed easily, some legal experts predict it will be a test case for revisiting the 1995 U.S. Supreme Court ruling against congressional term limits. U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton established that states “cannot impose additional restrictions, such as term limits, on its representatives in the federal government beyond those provided by the Constitution.”

A state legislative panel has already allocated $1 million to fight for the measure in court if the challenge arises. 

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), 63, opposes the age limit because he believes votes should have options. 

“To limit those decisions arbitrarily just doesn’t make sense to me,” he told the outlet. 


Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Jared Hendrix — chair of Retire Congress North Dakota, who is also a Republican running for the State House — successfully led a statewide ballot initiative to put term limits on the offices of governor and the state legislature in 2022, the Dakotan reported

He told the outlet in April that “we must tackle the problem of career politicians who spend decades in office and never leave.”

“It should be public service, not a path to personal power and enrichment,” Hendrix said. “Our leaders should be mentally and physically able to do their job and in tune with the issues facing growing families.”

He believes it is “very possible” that other states may follow suit since the latest measure passed, the AP reported. 

The vote comes as many Americans nationwide question the capabilities of aging President Joe Biden, who is 81 years old.

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The White House was forced into damage control in June after a Wall Street Journal article titled “Behind Closed Doors, Biden Shows Signs of Slipping” described Biden’s mental fitness as poor and said he was “almost unintelligible” during key meetings. 

The paper quoted former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) saying, “He’s not the same person.” 

White House staffers quickly took to social media to dismiss the article, with Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates posting a string of quotes from members of Biden’s cabinet in support of his aptitude. 

“What a surprise – Republicans employing their election year messaging strategy that contradicts their own prior words about @POTUS,” White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt posted on X, citing a New York Times journalist who reported that McCarthy privately thinks that the president is actually “mentally sharp.”


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