Constitution of the United States

Start Free Trial

What is the total time in office that someone in the Senate or House can serve under the Constitution of the United States?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Constitution of the United States does not set any limits on the total amount of time in office that a given person may serve in the House of Representatives and/or in the Senate.  The Constitution specifies the length of the terms for members of these houses, but it does not specify how many terms they may serve.  The Constitution has been amended to limit the number of terms a president may serve, but no such amendment has been made for Congress.

In the 1990s, there was a major push in many states to put term limits on members of Congress.  However, the Supreme Court ruled that such laws were unconstitutional in the case of U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton.

Thus, a person may serve in Congress for as long as they keep getting reelected.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial