If we could travel back in time to when the constitution was being written and asked the drafters which clauses they thought would come to matter most, I wonder what they might have said. I would hazard a guess that each of them would have pointed to a clause in the Bill of Rights. The clauses giving access to housing or healthcare, perhaps, or the famous equality clause, the first on the planet to protect people on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Or, if they were fearful of the majority’s intent, the clause protecting property rights. I’d bet none of those drafters would have offered presidential term limits as the single most consequential clause in the constitution. But there is a strong argument to be made that more than any other clause it has shaped the past 25 years. We are not very far into the democratic era and already two presidents have wanted desperately to serve more than their two prescribed terms. Thabo Mbeki believed the country would fall apart under anoth...

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