There’s an old adage that says you can’t beat experience. Whether it’s in the workplace, field of sports, politics or other segments of life, experience is supposed to count for something.

But in the field of politics, many people feel that some politicians stay in office a little longer than they should. So some states enacted term limits, which means they have laws limiting statesmen to a certain number of years in public office.

In 1992, voters passed a constitutional amendment that lets state legislators to serve no more than 14 years, including three two-year House terms and two four-year Senate terms. Michigan’s rules are viewed as among the most restrictive among the 15 states with consecutive or lifetime term limits.

Eight former Michigan lawmakers have filed a lawsuit alleging they have been unconstitutionally blocked from running again by “draconian” term-limit restrictions that also prevent voters from backing candidates of their choice. The suit, filed in Grand Rapids federal court, seeks a permanent injunction against a portion of the 1992 amendment. 

The law, according to the suit reported by the Detroit Free Press, “has proven a failed social experiment; it has decreased the experience and competency of the legislature, decreased bipartisanship and coalition building, increased dynastic and recruitment-based representation, and increased the influence of lobbyists and social interest groups.” The complaint calls the limits “draconian” and says the lawmakers brought suit to “vindicate their own rights to appear on the ballot, as well as their right to themselves vote for experienced candidates.”

This is not the first time the limits have been challenged in court on constitutional grounds. In 1998, a federal judge in Detroit and the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a challenge filed by four voters and two public-interest groups.

John Burish, a former Michigan solicitor general who is one of the lawyers behind the new case, says the suit is different because would-be candidates are involved.

The complaint only pertains to the legislative branch — not limits for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state. The plaintiffs include three Republicans and five Democrats.

It’s interesting to see bipartisan support in opposing something the people voted for.