Can Bill Clinton be elected Vice-President?

This is definitely being posed as a hypothetical question, as I sincerely doubt that John Kerry would pick Bill Clinton, but I was interested in whether there is anything in the constitution or laws that would expressly forbid Bill Clinton from being elected or selected as the Vice-President.

Granted, traditionally the most important responsibility for a Vice-President is to take over should the President be unable to fulfill his duties, and I would guess that Clinton wouldn’t be able to do this (or would he for up to two years?), but he could perform the other duties, and should the situation come up of succession, they could always skip him and move onto 3rd in line for the throne. (After all, Madeline Albright was able to hold a cabinet level position, even though her foreign-born status would have caused them to pass over her in succession.)

Hmm, funny I wasn’t the first to think of that.


A question going the other way…

Hypothetically speaking, What if the President is shot dead right after inaguration. The Vice President then takes over the office, and completes the term with no further problems.

Durring the next election, Will the VP have the chance at 4 or 8 more years in office… if so voted?

22nd Amemdment has the answer.

So you don’t have to go digging if you don’t want to…

No. In this section of the amendmant…

So if you act as President for more than 2 years, the most you can do is run for re-election once.

So what about one year?

Let me rephrase the entire question. What is the longest possible duration a US citizen can be president, under CURRENT laws/amendments ?

One day less than ten years.

The situation would be thus: President Lenny gets his brain blowed up two years and one day into his first term. Vice President Carl is immediately sworn in has President. At the end of the term, since Carl has served less than two years as President, he would be able to be re-elected for two more terms.

It says that he can’t be elected as President, not that he can’t be elected as Vice President. If the President dies then he’d become President without being elected. It is a play on words, but it’d give the Supreme Court something useful to do until gay marriage comes up. :smiley:

interestingly this article on the BBC web site says that Clinton COULD be chosen as VP.

We’ve discussed this numerous times in numerous threads over the last 5 years. The correct answer is that the possibility is not precluded by a strict reading of the language used, and it is anyone’s guess whether the Supreme Court would attempt to interpret the meaning of the words to effectuate what many people think common sense dictates; it’s all pretty irrelevant since no one will be stupid enough to pick a V-P candidate that presents the question.

Sorry, but no. You’re only reading the 22nd Amendment. You need to read the 12th Amendment, too (final line):

Thus the answer is this:

  1. The 22nd amendment makes Clinton ineligible to run for president.
  2. Since he is constitutionally ineligible to run for president under the 22nd Amendment, he is not eligible to be VP under the 12th.

How much clearer does it have to be?

The answer isn’t that clear. As many people said in
this thread,

Clinton is ineligeble to be elected to the office of president, however he meets all other requirements.

I’m not saying it could or even would happen. The wording does not make it cut and dried though. It may break the spirit of the law, but we don’t know how the courts might rule (if they would at all).

Pretty damn clear, if the lawyers here don’t agree with you. Check the previous threads.

RealityChuck, although the intent is, IMHO, clear, the wording is not. It is chicken and egg. The Twelfth Amendment precludes someone “ineligible” to be President from being Vice-President. Does the 22nd Amendment make Clinton “ineligible” to be President? No, because he is only precluded from being “elected” to the office. He could be Vice-President and succede, he could be Speaker of the House and succede. He could be one of a number of Cabinet officers and succede. So he is not “ineligible” to “become” President. Therefor, the Twelfth Amendment does not render him ineligible to become Vice-President.

In short, one cannot make him “ineligible” by operation of the very amendment that, to apply, must start by assuming him “ineligible.” Circular reasoning of the worst sort, probably not what the framers of the 22nd Amendment had in mind, although I’ve mentioned in other threads that one can’t be too certain of “intent.”

Tangent question - why is the question always phrased with regard to Bill Clinton specifically? And it is.

Do people think Clinton is likely to be the vice-presidential nominee? If so, they’re whacked. Or is it completely hypothetical and moot? If so, why is it always Bill Clinton? I don’t remember anybody asking it about Reagan. And it’s never a generic ‘former two-term president’ either.

Perhaps the ghost of Clinton continues to scare his political enemies?

Gee, I wonder if they are afraid of reading A Christmas Carol as well?


The idea was first floated back in the 1960s when some Republican columnists (possibly William Buckley) suggested that Eisenhower run as a VP.

In the past election, as well as the past several years, we have seen things we never thought we ever would.

In a Jackson(s), Stewart, Enron, Florida, chad-count, 9/11, AXIS of EVIL world…

Anything could happen.

Well, I started the last thread on this because I saw a blurb in the paper or on some talk show. I think the reason it’s come up a lot with Clinton is because he’s the last two term pres since Reagan. He’s recent, and people couldn’t really ask these questions on the internet when Bush Sr. ran. Besides, I think Reagan had a hard enough time making it through his own last term :wink: