Saturday, June 05, 2004

A Constitutional Quibble

Bill Clinton has been added to CNN's possible VP list for Kerry; says CNN, "While federal law prohibits a person from seeking a third presidential term, the Constitution does not specify whether or not a former commander in chief can become vice president."

I think this is merely absurd. The Constitution (12th Amendment) explicitly says, "But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States." Clinton is ineligible (22nd amendment) because he can't be elected to the office of the President: "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice." The confusion arises from thinking that 'eligible' means something different from 'able to be elected'. 'Election' means 'choosing', 'eligible' means 'able to be chosen', and 'elected' means 'chosen'. The 12th amendment therefore means, "No one who can't be chosen President can be chosen Vice-President" and the 22nd means "No one can be chosen President more than twice." The latter means that Clinton can't be chosen to be President; this means, quite literally, he is ineligible.

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