Stirewaltisms: It’s Time for an Age Limit for Federal Office


The constitutional age requirements for federal office—35 for president, 30 for senators, 25 for representatives—make sense. But they aren’t enough.

As Americans, especially elites, live longer and longer, we need upper limits, too. Not only are there considerations about the abilities of individual office holders, but about having a government that reflects the nation as a whole. I suggest a maximum age of 79 for all federal offices, including the Supreme Court. I’m certainly open to different ages, but let’s start there.

This is not primarily about the current president, his predecessor (both of whom would be disqualified in 2024 under my proposal) or the current members of Congress and the court. Partisans, supporters, and detractors could make all kinds of arguments about why certain very old people are good or bad at their jobs. What I am worried about is gerontocracy. The Founders’ generation did not know that most Americans would one day not only live so long or that they would remain so active into their later years. 

Join to continue reading
Get started with a free account or join as a member for unlimited access to all of The Dispatch. Continue ALREADY HAVE AN ACCOUNT? SIGN IN