American President and terms in office

The president is limited to only two terms in office (correct?). Can he be appointed vice president after that?

A president is limited to serving 2 elected terms, or 10 years total (that is, serving no more than 2 years of another president’s term because of death or resignation). It has never been tested, but I suspect that a former 2-term President (at the moment, Bill Clinton is the only one who fits that description)could be appointed VP if there were less than 2 years remaining in the current President’s term.

Earlier threads that have addressed (if not exhausted) this topic:

Could Kerry choose Clinton as a running mate

Could Clinton become VP?

I can see three possible views about whether a twice-elected president can become vice-president:

  1. A twice-elected president is ineligible for the vice-presidency under any circumstances. The 22nd amendment makes him or her ineligible for election as president, so the 12th amendment makes him or her ineligible for election as vice-president. The 25th amendment, the only other route to the vice-presidency, is silent about eligibility but implicitly imports the eligibility requirements from the 12th and 22nd amendments. (To put it another way, the 22nd amendment means that being re-elected as president exhausts one’s eligibility, not only for purposes of election but for all purposes.)

  2. A twice-elected president is ineligible for the vice-presidency by election, but not necessarily by way of the 25th amendment. The 12th amendment’s eligibility clause imports the 22nd amendment’s limit on electability, but the 25th amendment does not involve an election, so a twice-elected former president can become vice-president if the incumbent president nominates and both houses of Congress confirm him or her.

  3. A twice-elected president is eligible for the vice-presidency under any circumstances. The 22nd amendment’s literal terms apply only to election as president, not to election as vice-president or to succession to the presidency.

Views 3 and 2 are more literal (that is, more textually defensible) than View 1, but Views 1 and 2 make more sense than View 3 in light of the 22nd amendment. The amendment says only that “[n]o person shall be elected,” but surely its intent was to keep a demagogue (or any individual, for that matter) from monopolizing the executive branch indefinitely. If a twice-elected president is eligible for election as vice-president, and is then eligible for succession to the presidency, what would stop a popular term-limited president from running for vice-president on a ticket with a figurehead who will take office then immediately step aside? The constitutional gymnastics are a little more complicated, but the same policy question can arise in the case of a twice-elected president chosen as vice-president under the twenty-fifth amendment.

A statutory succession to the presidency under the Presidential Succession Act raises substantially the same issues, since the Act’s provisions “apply only to such officers as are eligible to the office of President under the Constitution.” 3 U.S.C. § 19(e). (Interestingly, there was a book written more than 30 years ago – Line of Succession by Brian Garfield – that deals with some of these issues. The vice-president and speaker are killed in a terrorist attack, the president-elect is kidnapped then killed, and the president pro tem is politically unacceptable to both political parties, so the defeated outgoing president schemes to amend the Succession Act so that he can stay in office. The book sidesteps the 22nd-amendment issue, though, because the outgoing president has served only one term.)

Short of a constitutional amendment or a court case, I suppose that there can be no definitive answer until somebody tries it.

Bill Clinton’s opinion was that by reasonable interpretation, he could not be nominated. This is probably mentioned in at least one of those threads.

One thing to remember is that even within a political party, there are disagreements, rivalries and even raw hatred so it would take an exceedingly extraordinary individual, probably coupled with extraordinary circumstances, who could maintain the support of his own party for three or more terms while the various factions struggled for prominence. It might be possible to find some roundabout strategy to get a popular two-termer back into office without violating the letter of the constitution, but it would definitely be a hard sell to many loyal party members who wanted to see their pick get the top job.

Why(TF) would anyone want to be VP after being President? :confused:

I think BrianMelendez’s option #3 is out the window courtesy of the 12th Amendment.

Eisenhower in 1961, Reagan in 1989, and Clinton in 2001 were ineligible to be elected President; they had exhausted their eligibility, as provided in the 22nd Amendment. Under the terms of Amendment XII, they were therefore ineligible to be elected Vice President too.

Groupies, man.