Bill Clinton for Vice President

(See here) where it is reported in a Washington Post piece written by Peter Baker that Constitutional Lawyers are having a field day as to what would happen if Hillary Clinton chose her husband to run beside her as Vice President.

First, I do not want to scold Peter Baker. As a reporter, he only reports on the opinions of lawyerly scholars and he is supposed to keep his own opinion from creeping in on what he reports about.

But I will scold the high minded constitutional lawyers' opinion that he reports about.

Here is the issue. Can Bill Clinton serve as Vice President according to the Constitution?

I encourage anyone who thinks they might disagree with me to explore the links I am going to provide.

First off, what prevented Bill Clinton from running for a third term? Well it is the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution (see here) that put term limits on those who serve as President. Please note that this amendment bars Bill Clinton from being elected to a third term. He is constitutionally barred from being "elected". Please note that I put a little emphasis on "elected". It is theoretically possible for Bill Clinton to still "serve" as President, however unlikely a scenario you can come up with might be.

But can Bill serve as Vice President? And then if the President dies or something can he serve as President? Well let us look at the 12th Amendment to the Constitution (see here). The 12th Amendment seems to be dedicated to how the Electoral College shall conduct themselves, and how an election will be decided if a third or even a fourth party candidate ran and prevented any candidate from having sufficient strength to carry the election on their own. The purpose seems to be to define how a President will be selected if the Electoral College can not come up with a result. If this was to happen, the House of Representatives gets to decide from amongst the candidates, limited to the three highest vote getters, as to who will be President.

Please note that the concluding sentence of this amendment states:

But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
So since the 12th Amendment seeks to take authority over the Electoral College, and what happens if they can not come to a result, I assume this sentence is obligatory. This amendment sought to take charge of all aspects of how a President is selected. Since Bill Clinton can not constitutionally serve a third term as President, he can not constitutionally serve as Vice President.

How does Constitutional Succession go? If Bill Clinton served as Speaker of the House, and all the guys like the President and Vice President were killed by Osama or something, yeah, he could once again serve as President. However, he can not be elected as Vice President, the Constitution prevents it.

Follow the links and go read it for yourself.


Blogger Lethal_Poison said...

I agree with this, I actually used this argument the other day.

10/20/2006 01:38:00 PM  

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