Could Kerry choose Clinton as a running mate.

I believe this subject was brought up in 2000 when Gore ran against Bush, but I don’t remember any answer. I thought maybe someone would have a definitive answer. I’m just confused.

Section 1 of the 22nd Amendment -

So he couldn’t be elected. But could he becomes VP?

(and please let’s try to stick to facts and not get into the politics) :slight_smile:

Amendment XII:

Clinton is ineligible to become president again.

I often thought that too, but now I’m not so certain.

You say that Clinton is ineligible, probably based on the 22nd ammendment which states (bolding mine):

A strict reading of that ammendment says that Clinton is ineligible to be elected to the Presidency, but can serve if he gets there via another route. While Clinton may be ineligible for election, he still meets the criteria to be eligible for the office (35 years, 14 year resident, natural born citizen).

Of course, in the end, it would come down to a SCOTUS decision on what the 22nd really means.

Zev Steinhardt

From an AP article

According to Mark Tushnet, a constitutional law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, it is possible for Bill Clinton to become vice-president.

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution imposes a two-term limit on presiden-tial candidates, but imposes no limit on the vice presidency. As vice president, however, Clinton could succeed the president upon death, incapacity, impeach-ment or resignation and serve a third term.
That leads to the 12th Amendment, which states that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of president shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.”
Is the 22nd Amendment an “eligibility” requirement? Arguably not, says Tushnet. Article II of the Constitution defines who is eligible to be president as a natural born citizen, at least 35 years old, who has been a U.S. resident for at least 14 years. It says nothing about term limits.

But others might argue that permitting Clinton to run for vice president violates the spirit of the 22nd Amendment. The issue ultimately would be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2000 resolved the disputed presidential election in President Bush’s favor.

Of course Clinton can be vice-president! It’s just her husband who would be a problem ;).

But more seriously,

More likely it would come down to the voters. Even among those voters who favor the Democratic Party, it seems likely to me that a great many would consider this sort of shenanigan “cheating”, and not vote for a Kerry-Clinton ticket on those grounds. Also of course, the politicians know this, and thus wouldn’t try it in the first place.

Has any president gone on to become a vice-president later in life?

No. JQ Adams served in the House after he was president, Taylor was elected to (but died before he could serve) in the Confederate Senate and Taft was CJ of SCOTUS, but no president (even a one-termer) ever went on to serve as vice president later.

Zev Steinhardt

Actually, that would be John Tyler who was elected to the Confederate Senate.

Zachary Taylor, of course, died in office.

Could we just agree to call it the U.S. Supreme Court instead of that ridiculous acronym? Puh-leez.

If you want to be excruciatingly correct, I believe the title of the office is Chief Justice of the United States of America.

If you want to be excruciatingly correct, I believe the title of the office is Chief Justice of the United States.

So I guess the concensus is that there is no real rule of law on this yet? The amendment doesn’t seem to actually say you can’t, but I guess no one has ever tried before.

I guess we won’t ever know…


It’s an open question, whatami, but I think that Tushnet’s analysis is pretty sound – I personally have never seen any strong argument to the contrary other than the naked policy appeal that Jplacer mentions, which is all well and good (and indeed, would probably sway much of the electorate, including me), but which, as a matter of constitutional analysis, is simply not in the text.

I doubt the Supreme Court would ever hear such a case, even if it were to happen. They don’t like to address “political questions” like this, choosing to leave them to the electorate to decide.


It’s amazing how people will construct the most unlikely scenarios to find a way that Bill Clinton could get back in the Oval Office and ignore the most obvious. Clinton cannot become President or Vice President under the Constitution as it now exists (Mark Tushnet should have his teaching credentials reviewed). But the Constitution can be amended. The 22nd Amendment could be revoked as the 18th was.

Isn’t the 12th Amendment the controlling one here?

The last line reads:

So, since Bill is no longer eligible for the office of President he’s not eligible for the VP slot.

Full text:

I really don’t care who Kerry’s running mate is. I don’t have any particular affection for Bill, but I’d heard someone talking about it and wondered on the legality.

I can see that this is not a yes/no question like I’d originally hoped. Perhaps this is more of a GD than a GQ now.

Paranoid much? Neither Tushnet nor anyone else is trying to get Clinton back in the White House. Tushnet – who happens to be a respected constitutional law scholar, by the way – is merely pointing out that there does in fact exist an ambiguity in the text of the Constitution, which does not explicitly say that someone who is not eligible to be elected president is also not eligible to be president. Tushnet is constructing a legal argument based on valid constitutional principles. That his argument is most probably a loser is not lost on him and is not a negative reflection on his credentials.

He’s not eligible to be elected president. He’s other wise eligible (natural born, over 35…)

Stephen Gillers discusses this at the NY Times

You really know how to hurt a guy, Nemo – did you just decide to post without reading the thread.

Make an argument as to why Clinton can’t be reelected. Convince me, and I’ll send you ten bucks. But I’m not worried.

Jonathan Chance, the 12th Amendment says nothing to this question. It says that a potential VP must be eligible for the office of President, but where in the Constitution does it say Clinton can’t be president (as distinct from being elected president)?


And what, pray tell, are your credentials for this assertion? It should be obvious from the preceeding discussion that the Constitution says nothing definitive on the subject. If you think it does, please demonstrate it explicitly.

Whether or not it would be possible to exploit the ambiguity in the Consitution in this way is largely a political issue. Given a divided electorate, and the present composition of the Supreme Court, Clinton certainly could not take this route. However, given a two-term president of overwhelming popularity, and a compliant Supreme Court, it’s not impossible that such a loophole could be exploited sometime in the future.