Could Bill Clinton Or Obama Be Selected As Hillary's Running Mate? Well...

July 06, 2016Jul 06, 2016

If Hillary Clinton is elected president, is it possible she could give us more years of Bill Clinton or Obama as president if she chose either of them as her running mate and then resigned or became ineligible to continue to hold office, thus handing them the presidency?

I know that's a mouthful, but bear with me. In other words, could Bill, for example, legally be chosen as Hillary's running mate, become vice president if she's elected, and then become current President Bill Clinton again if Hillary leaves her job in the Oval Office for any reason?

The answer to that, actually, seems fuzzy from a Constitutional amendment perspective. UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh tackled that question in a piece for the Washington Post, and it's complicated. But we'll keep it short and sweet here.

The 12th Amendment says, "[N]o person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.”

The 22nd Amendment, written later, says “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice ….”

The 12th Amendment seems, at first glance, to disqualify Bill from being vice president ever in his lifetime. But is he technically ineligible of ever being president or vice president again? Legal scholars Bruce G. Peabody and Scott E. Gant have argued "no." They point to unusual cases where Bill, if legally serving in an office below that of the vice presidency, could become president through a chain of succession if both the current president and vice president are incapacitated, or if Bill was appointed the presidency by the House of Representatives if neither presidential candidate got the majority of the electoral votes (this happened in a crowded presidential candidate race with John Quincy Adams in 1824).

While both those cases are extremely unlikely to ever happen for Bill, Peabody and Gant argue that they prove Bill is not technically ineligible from being chosen as a vice president. Not everyone agrees, though, including Volokh, the author of the piece.

The best answer seems to be that it may be possible for Bill or Obama to be chosen as Hillary's running mate, but it's extremely doubtful she would do that because of the legal battle that would ensue and the unpopularity of her choice on both sides of the aisle.

What do you think?