Common Interpretation: Twenty-Second Amendment

F.H. Buckley, George Mason University Antonin Scalia School of Law
Gillian E. Metzger, Columbia Law School


The Constitution’s Framers puzzled at length over how to select the president. In part, this reflected the novelty of the office. No such position existed under the Articles of Confederation, with Congress instead wielding both legislative and executive powers. The British monarch was an obvious but also troubling model, given the young republic’s recent revolution against British rule. Presidential term limits were just one item the Framers considered, alongside bigger questions such as whether the presidency would be unitary or collective, who would elect the President (Congress, the people, or an intermediary mechanism such as the Electoral College), and broader debate about the President’s role.