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Constitutional Amendment Needed To Close Loophole On Presidential and Vice-Presidential Eligibility

An article was posted to REDDIT suggesting that by means of a loophole, how Bill Clinton could become President again:

On its face, that seems to suggest that Clinton could be vice president because he is only barred from being elected president a third time, not from serving as president.

I thought it was more silliness/stupidness from REDDIT.

Here are the US Constitution sections dealing with it:

Article II. – The Executive Branch
…”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.”…

Amendment XXII – Presidential Term Limits.

…”1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.”…

Amendment XII – Choosing the President, Vice-President
…”But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.”…

Oh-oh.

I concede there is a loophole, or at least, the language is something that someone could try to exploit in the future.

So, an amendment is need to close the loophole and re-state the intent:

Presidential and Vice-Presidential Eligibility Amendment:

Section One: Eligibility for the Office of President shall be as follows:

  • Be a natural born and native born US citizen
  • Shall achieved a minimum age of 35 Years at the time that term begins
  • Shall not have prior service as president to exceed two elected terms
  • Shall not have prior service as president to exceed one elected term, and have held the office of President or acted as President for more than two years cumulatively of a term or terms to which some other person initially served
  • Shall not have held the office of President or acted as President for more than two years cumulatively of a term or terms to which some other person initially served
  • Shall not have been removed from the office of President or office of Vice President by impeachment

Section Two: Eligibility for the Office of Vice-President shall be as follows [update – see change from 9/26/2009 below]:

  • Be a natural born and native born US citizen
  • Shall achieved a minimum age of 35 Years at the time that term begins
  • Shall not have prior service as president to exceed two elected terms
  • Shall not have prior service as president to exceed one elected term, and have held the office of President or acted as President for more than two years cumulatively of a term or terms to which some other person initially served
  • Shall not have acted as President for more than two years cumulatively of a term or terms to which some other person initially served
  • Shall not have prior service as Vice-President to exceed two elected terms
  • Shall not have prior service as Vice-President to exceed one elected term, and have held the office of Vice-President or acted as Vice-President for more than two years cumulatively of a term or terms to which some other person initially served
  • Shall not have acted as Vice-President for more than two years cumulatively of a term or terms to which some other person initially served
  • Shall not have been removed from the office of President or office of Vice President by impeachment

Note: Lawyers can clean it up a bit.

My recommended amendments now number 34.

Updated VP eligibility idea from 9/26/2009 into a simpler form (which is what everybody assume the constitution means anyways – even though it doesn’t):

A person who is constitutionally eligible to serve as President is then also eligible to be Vice-President. A person who is not constitutionally eligible to serve as President is then also not eligible to be Vice-President

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12 Responses

  1. “…”But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States”

    Bill Clinton is constitutionally ineligible to be president again; thus vice-president as well.

  2. Ok. I have to read the everything again. I may have gotten all twisted around. Where was that loophole…

  3. Mark,

    Got it.

    He is ineligible to be “elected” again. Amendment XXII has “electibility” requirements only.

    Amendment 12 can be interpreted as referring only to Article 2.

    Somebody could meet the Article 2 requirements (and still have been Pres for 2 full terms), and that is all that would be required to appoint the person VP, or for that matter to run as VP.

    A two-term president could become president again by succession, just not election.

    That is the loophole.

    I had always thought of it the way you did, but the plain language is different.

    –Purp

  4. Is there a clause that prevents someone from holding a foreign diplomatic or aristocratic title from being eligible as President? If so, Sir Rudy can’t contend.

    Louis

  5. Hi Louis:

    First Rudy G. (don’t make me spell it!) isn’t a Knight or a “Sir”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_honorary_British_Knights

    Its an honorary award.

    I think you might also be referencing Article 1, Section 9:

    “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”

    It doesn’t quite apply.

    There was (is?) a proposed but unratified amendment that covers this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_missing_thirteenth_amendment

    “If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain, any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.”

    So, Rudy is eligible for President.

  6. […] Purpleslog presents Constitutional Amendment Needed To Close Loophole On Presidential and Vice-Presidential Eligibility posted at Purpleslog, saying, “Stopping a future American political […]

  7. There is a need to amend the Constitution of the
    United States so as to avoid the likes of the current bad situation that the nation is now in.

    That bad situation is the declaration by President
    George W. Bush with the assistance of his staff that the President is above the law in that he can declare any law not applicable when he so desires or his staff so recommends, e.g. Yoo the torture OK decider, so that his actions are not to be held
    in continence with the the Constitution of the United States or the laws of the US.

    President George W. Bush ASSERTS that he need not answer to Congress and the associated requirements, for affirmation of his actions. WRONG!

    This Constitutional Amendment would declare that the President of the US and the VP, and/or his/her staff are not above any law of the US, and furthermore can not ignore the request from Congress or the Courts as to compliance with any law in question.

    Bush is not our king. He and Chaney may even be criminals. Both for sure have limited mental abilities. The Bush-Chaney neo-con cabal have badly damaged our nation. RonPaul B

  8. Thanks for the rant Ron.

    “..he can declare any law not applicable when he so desires or his staff so recommends…”

    What could you possibly mean by this?

    Congress passes many bills which are clearly unconstitutional. I wish the president would veto those. If the executive branch declares an intent to not follow something unconstitutional I am ok with that (the exec branch took an oath to uphold the constitution, not the whims of congress). The legislative branch can sue and the courts can settle the matter. If congress really felt the president was acting unconstitutional they would try to impeach him (only a few nuts job like Kosinich have gone that far)

    Going to court is ugly and reduces confidence on the governing process by citizens.

    A better set of controls would be:

    1) have congress un-bundle bills that have separate and unrelated components into separate bills (by internal rules or constitutional amendment as a last resort). This makes it harder for congress to hide unconstitutional activity and easier for the president to veto unconstitutional bills.

    2) Each bill should explicitly state the legal/constitutional authority upon which it based (by internal rules or constitutional amendment as a last resort). This makes it harder for congress to hide unconstitutional activity and easier for the president to veto unconstitutional bills.

    3) Bills reported out of committee – especially spending bills – should have a reasonable period of time for members of congress, citizens, the press, and the executive branch to exam and note flaw, objections, and trojan horses (by internal rules or constitutional amendment as a last resort). This will make it harder for bad law to be implemented.

    4) Bills expanding the federal government or imposing new regulations should have a sunset clause – to force periodic renewal – and sunshine clauses – what will it cost and how will it be paid for (by internal rules or constitutional amendment as a last resort).This will make it harder for bad law to be implemented.

    5) Congress should alter the judicial system so any remaining legislative/executive branch constitutional disagreements are fast-tracked.

  9. […] To Have the USGOV Make Better Laws I promoted my reply up from a new comment/rant on an old post. Congress passes many bills which are clearly […]

  10. Where’s the Birth Certificate?

  11. Xavier Cugat: Go away Birther.

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