Vice Presidential Severance


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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20 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:

    Kinda assumed most cabinet members and other appointed staff had resignations filed as a matter of course.

    Not so?Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Damon says:

      My understanding is that the resignation is tendered on re-election, but not throughout. Unlike the VP, they serve at the pleasure of the president, and since they can be fired at any point, they can turn in their resignation at any point. So, unlike with the VP, there’s really no reason for them to have a resignation on file.Report

  2. Avatar Kim says:

    The Vice President is a guest at the white house.
    He has less security clearance than the white house chef.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    So what if the VP needs removal and doesn’t want to go? Can he be impeached? The Constitution is silent on the matter.

    If a President or a Judge can be impeached, and a member of Congress can be expelled, it takes a vote of at least one house Congress. So it seems to be not a very big stretch to say that some kind of Congressional action is capable of removing the VP from office as well.

    If you care about original intent, then it seems clear that the Framers intended that the holder of any Federal office be subject to some kind of removal for very bad acts.

    If you care about the structure and concepts set forth in the text, it seems clear that every office named in the Constitution is within the ability of Congress to remove. Specifically, at least one house of Congress.

    It’s only if you’re going to be rigidly formal about the text that the VP is unremovable other than by his or her own resignation or death.

    And given the rising importance of the Vice Presidency since the Clinton Administration, it seems we ought to formalize the issue. Removal through impeachment and trial with the same mechanism as is used for the President seems like the right way to go for me.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Article II, section 4:

      The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High crimes and Misdemeanors.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Wasn’t the VP originally the loser (or second place finisher) in the Presidential election? If so, it would make sense to limit the President’s ability to fire this person.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

        You are correct, but even aside from that the VP shouldn’t be fireable by the president in any circumstances. A president about to be impeached and indicted could threaten to fire the VP if the VP does not promise to issue a pardon.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        Great point. I would think that the President ought to have some role in the process, but he/she shouldn’t have unilateral authority, for the reason cited (among others, I’m sure).

        Perhaps he can propose to Congress that they consider removal from office and/or testify to that case.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy says:

        “…it would make sense to limit the President’s ability to fire this person.”

        This would seem the likely intent, given that the original authors of the Constitution really, really, really didn’t trust the executive.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Kazzy says:

        Since the VP was originally the loser of the Presidential election, they certainly wouldn’t have given the President the ability to fire him.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Burt Likko says:

      The problem, though, is that becoming incapacitated is not really a high crime or misdemeanor. I think Congress could impeach a person nevertheless, but they’d be reluctant to because it’s a black mark that is undeserved. Wilson wasn’t impeached, nor was Justice Douglas, and both cases caused problems (although fortunately, only minor ones). So the same reluctance, I think, would extend to the potential impeachment of an incapacitated VP.Report

  4. Avatar Stephen M. Stillman says:

    My takeaway from last night’s 60 Minutes piece on Cheney is that even though he got a transplant, he still doesn’t have a heart!Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    “It could make for an interesting TV show episode, anyway.”

    It was, sort of. On the West Wing, the VP resigned (though the administration was pushing for him to stay), then there was a 25th amendment crisis when Bartlett’s youngest daughter was kidnapped.

    (Then John Goodman became President, and was like “Dude, the girl kidnapped herself”)

    But really, I don’t think it matters. A VP who is either incapacitated or otherwise indisposed just doesn’t show up to break any ties in the Senate. If the sitting President then does indeed go out of commission, the VP becomes President, and if he or she can’t or won’t, the authority passes seamlessly to the Speaker of the House, and so on and so forth.

    (the one thing I would do is take Senate President Pro Tempore out of the line of succession, or give the job to someone who isn’t necessarily just the oldest guy in that room)Report

  6. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Getting drunk and shooting his friend in the face didn’t count?Report