By Michael Nedderman
The U.S. Constitution states the following age qualifications: 35 years old for president, 30 for senator and 25 for representative.
That means that Charlie Kirk, a rising star in the Republican Party, could not be the party’s presidential nominee in 2024 if he wanted to run and had the required support. (I am not aware that Kirk has any presidential aspirations but am using him as an age-appropriate example.) In 2024 he will be four years short of the constitutional requirement that the president be at least 35 years old – but how is that not age discrimination, and why are we tolerating such retrograde reasoning in the 21st century and in our Constitution of all places?
Those age limitations violate the civil liberties of every person in the following three groups and have in every election since the Constitution was ratified in 1788:
- each person who has been prevented from candidacy for each of those three offices (an unknowable number but, since 1788, it must be large);
- the truly massive violation of the civil liberties of every voter in every election, during the past 232 years to have those otherwise qualified people on their ballots; and
- every American who has ever lived under the Constitution who has the right to be governed by the best political leaders regardless of age.
This writer could find only one court case that addressed this issue and then only from the candidate’s perspective, as described in No. 1, stating that there is no “fundamental right to run for public office” (U.S. 9th Circuit, 2014, see page 1064). However, there were no cases from the perspective of aggrieved voters, as described in No. 2 above, who have had their sovereign right violated to make the political decisions regarding the leadership of this nation without those arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions preventing otherwise qualified candidates from being on their ballots.
Those age restrictions are based upon an erroneous assumption about a generalization that then became the basis for faulty reasoning:
- The generalization is that everyone matures at the same rate.
- The erroneous assumption is that there are no exceptions.
- The faulty reasoning is that the voters, upon whom the future of our nation depends, can’t be trusted to choose wisely if someone under one of those age limits were to be on the ballot.
While it’s true that most people mature at about the same rate, there are exceptions. Such exceptions are, by definition, exceptional people who are otherwise qualified for those respective offices. Here is an excellent example to illustrate what those discriminatory constitutional clauses are precluding:
One of Great Britain’s best prime ministers was William Pitt the Younger who assumed that office at the age of 24 and served an incredible 18 years during his first term (1783–1801) and two years in his second term (1804–1806), cut short by his premature death at age 46. If he were an American, he would not have been permitted to be a member of the House of Representatives at 24 and certainly not senator or president! What rational person would want to stop someone like him from serving the nation if America should ever produce such a political genius?
To further illustrate the arbitrary and absurd nature of the Constitution’s paternalistic age restrictions, what if a person were just one month short of the age requirement of 35 for president, or even six months too young? Or why not use Charlie Kirk’s age in 2024 of 31, or better yet, Jesus’ age of 30 when he began his ministry?
If Jesus Christ were a natural born citizen of the United States today, would anyone seriously try to stop the perfect man from becoming president because of an irrelevant factor like his age? If so, how would that be anything but a gross injustice against him and, most significantly, against the American people as voters and as the governed?
A novel idea
There should only be one reasonable and constitutional test for candidates younger than each of those age limits: voter scrutiny! Let the people exercise their fundamental human and constitutional right to decide who will govern the nation in elections that don’t discriminate against an entire class of otherwise qualified people and that violate the civil liberties of all voters and of the governed.
Why should the American electorate be deprived of the ballot choice of even one such political prodigy as illustrated by William Pitt the Younger? We will never know what choices have been denied voters for each of those offices since the Constitution was ratified and, therefore, of the great leadership our nation has been deprived.
Time for the 28th Amendment!
Unless we amend the Constitution to correct this obvious flaw, we will be accomplices to the monumental violation of civil liberties the framers sealed into that otherwise remarkable document whose stated objective is to establish justice (from the preamble).
The injustice of those age limits should offend every thinking American because they have no reasonable purpose and, therefore, no defensible logic. Will we do nothing about this obvious injustice as did so many for so long regarding slavery and woman’s suffrage?
It is time for we the people, to take the next logical step to free our great Charter of Liberty of this 18th century anachronism by ratifying a 28th Amendment just as our forebears corrected the nation’s slavery defect with the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, corrected sex discrimination with the 19th Amendment that gave women the vote, and corrected a different age discrimination problem against the nation’s youth with the 26th Amendment that legalized voting at age 18 instead of 21.
All who agree with the Constitution’s promises to “establish justice” will understand that it is time to create a movement to amend the Constitution by forwarding this article to their congressional representatives, senators and to all print, broadcast, internet and social media.
The American people deserve the best representation and leadership possible, so it should not be arbitrarily restricted by the constitutional carbuncle that is embodied in each of those age limitations. We need the 28th Amendment now because the enforcement of those limitations cannot be defended in any forum of conscience or of common sense.
Michael Nedderman is a California-based writer, the author of the eBook “America’s Primal Prayer” and these WND columns: “Is Jesus in the Declaration of Independence?”; “The personal exemption and ‘inflation tax'”; and “If the 40 million Christians who don’t vote did vote.” Contact him at [email protected].
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