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Congressional Term Limits; Public Defender Furloughs

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Due Diligence

Due Diligence


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Chapter 1: Congress to consider term limits amendment to U.S. Constitution

Congressman Matt Salmon is in his fourth term, but that hasn’t stopped him from proposing a Constitutional amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress to just two. This follows Senator David Vitter’s similar proposal in January to the Senate. A recent Gallup poll puts favorability for Congressional term limits at 75 percent but a Constitutional Amendment requires more than a popular position even if Congress were to approve it. We talk to Phil Blumel, President of U.S. Term Limits.

Chapter 2: Public defenders seeing furloughs under sequestration

This year marks 50 since the Supreme Court gave the guarantee of legal defense regardless of one’s ability to pay for one in the decision Gideon v. Wainwright. Many more cases have been decided since then that have impacted the definition of that right, but simple economics has impacted it more than any legal precedent. In many public defenders’ offices, heavy case loads and a lack of resources mean, in practical terms, an erosion of that right. Now news that public defenders are no exception to furloughs due to sequestration cuts threatens to exacerbate the problem. We talk to Jonathan Rapping, law professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and a career public defender who founded Gideon’s Promise.