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Old 11-11-2012, 06:28 AM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is offline
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US President refuses to assume office after being elected: What happens next?

What happens if the President-elect (elected by the electoral college) decides he cannot and will not assume the presidency?

(Reasons could be personal and/or political).
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:32 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is online now
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Hmm.

I'd say that, since it was after the electoral college votes, the VP would move up. Once that's done it's pretty locked in stone.

The the VP gets to nominate a new VP and Congress gets approval there.

If it were before the electoral college meets I assume they'd be free to vote for a different candidate, though it would still be the slate of electors for the President-elect-that-doesn't-want-it.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:43 AM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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Once the EC votes, he's the President as of January 20. It would then be up to Congress to impeach/remove him for dereliction of duty.

Meanwhile, the new VP might ask the Cabinet (who would be the holdovers from the last administration) to invoke the 25th Amendment, so familiar to watchers of bad movies and TV shows, and give him the powers of office.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:06 PM
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friedo friedo is offline
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Yeah, once the EC votes, it's not really up to him. He can refuse to take the oath of office, but he's still president until he resigns or is removed. If he really didn't want to be president, he could resign at 12:01 on January 20, and the VP would become president. Otherwise the Cabinet could invoke the 25th amendment, and/or Congress could remove him.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:17 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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If the President-elect refuses to take the oath of office, hasn't he failed to qualify and the V-P elect acts as Prez, per the 20th Amendment, para. 3?

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twent...tion#section_1

Last edited by Northern Piper; 11-11-2012 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:24 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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Sayeth the Constitution (Article II, Section 1, Clause 8): "Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation ..."
Which sounds like he can't use any powers as President without the oath, but nothing there says he isn't the President.

As for qualifying, Clause 5: "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."
Nothing there about taking the oath.
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:41 AM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
Sayeth the Constitution (Article II, Section 1, Clause 8): "Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation ..."
Which sounds like he can't use any powers as President without the oath, but nothing there says he isn't the President.
Yeah, but until he takes that oath on Jan 20 he is not the President, he is the President-elect. I don't think the term 'President-elect' is mentioned anywhere in the Constitution and therefore it's not an official govt position of any kind. My guess is that it would therefore be an internal matter for the President-elect's party to decide, and since technically your state's party 'electors' are who you're actually voting for, this would be perfectly legal. And I think there would be a 99.9% chance that they would simply proclaim his running mate as the next President He'd probably pick a new VP before the swearing in and unless there was some questionable party shenanigans involved in his VP choice, Congress would just rubber stamp the VP appointment on inauguration day.
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:51 AM
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friedo friedo is offline
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Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
Yeah, but until he takes that oath on Jan 20 he is not the President, he is the President-elect.
The general consensus is that this is incorrect. The president becomes president upon the date and time set forth in the 20th amendment:

Quote:
The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
The oath is necessary for the president to discharge his duties (i.e., to start bossing people around.) But the assumption of the office is automatic on inauguration day.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:38 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
Yeah, but until he takes that oath on Jan 20 he is not the President, he is the President-elect. I don't think the term 'President-elect' is mentioned anywhere in the Constitution and therefore it's not an official govt position of any kind.
No, the term is used in the 20th Amendment, s. 3:

Quote:
If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified;

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
My guess is that it would therefore be an internal matter for the President-elect's party to decide, and since technically your state's party 'electors' are who you're actually voting for, this would be perfectly legal. And I think there would be a 99.9% chance that they would simply proclaim his running mate as the next President He'd probably pick a new VP before the swearing in and unless there was some questionable party shenanigans involved in his VP choice, Congress would just rubber stamp the VP appointment on inauguration day.
The OP's question asks what happens if the President elect declines to assume the Presidency after having been elected by the electoral college. By that point, it's no longer the choice of the party who their nominee will be; their nominee has been elected President by the electoral college. The party has no constitutional authority to change that election.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:00 AM
OldGuy OldGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donnerwetter View Post
What happens if the President-elect (elected by the electoral college) decides he cannot and will not assume the presidency?

(Reasons could be personal and/or political).
Everyone seems to be answering the question as if the-President-elect is just being obstinate and refuses to take the oath of office but it otherwise camped out in the Oval Office. It seems to me that the OP says the President-Elect doesn't wish to be President. I have no doubt he could "resign" between the meeting of the Electoral College and his inauguration and let the VP-elect become President. At the very least he could take the oath and immediately resign, but I can't imagine why anyone would insist he take that course.

(Note I didn't say I can't "imagine anyone would insist". I said "why." I've given up trying to understand all the motives of wackos.)
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:35 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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If it helps, it's the same question as if the P-E were to have a stroke and enter a coma after the EC vote but before Inauguration Day.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:25 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Not necessarily. The 25th Amendment gives the VP and a majority of the Cabinet the power to send to Congress "written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office".

If a the President elect is fully functioning, but simply refusing to exercise the duties of the office, with no medical condition involved, is that the same as "unable", in the example of a coma?
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