The Clinton administration opposes the imposition of term limits on members of Congress - a step already taken by voters in 15 states.
Solicitor General Drew Days III, the administration's highest-ranking courtroom lawyer, has told the Supreme Court an Arkansas term-limits measure "poses a particular threat to the federal system in that it makes membership in the Congress dependent on regulation by the states."The administration's first word on the volatile campaign issue came in an Aug. 31 request that Days filed with the Supreme Court seeking permission to participate in oral arguments over the Arkansas law's validity.
The law "contradicts the framers' design, which was to fix the qualifications for office in the Constitution itself, and to deny the power to add further qualifications to both the Congress and the states," Days said.
The high court entered the political storm last June when it agreed to use an Arkansas case to decide the validity of term limits.
The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a state constitutional amendment that limited how many times a person can run on the ballot for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
The state court ruled that a state cannot impose qualifications in addition to those set by the federal Constitution - minimum age, U.S. citizenship and state residency.
The first term-limits amendment was adopted by Colorado voters in 1990.