Does the Constitution prevent Hillary from naming Bill as her vice presidential running mate?

A Work of Fiction: President Hillary Clinton

By —— Bio and Archives--March 23, 2015

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In Britain, the play King Charles III closed on January 31, 2015, after a successful run.  Dubbed a future history play, it tells how shortly after becoming king, Charles is forced to abdicate by his son William and William’s scheming manipulative wife Kate.  If Britons could be treated to a fictional story about future backstabbing in the palace, then Americans deserved to see a fictional tale about future skullduggery by one of their political families in the White House.  To be believable, the persons portrayed would have to be known as liars who would stop at nothing to achieve and maintain political power.  Among America’s political families only the Clintons meet those requirements. What follows is the synopsis for a fictional tale of political betrayal and murder that Hollywood would never dare to make into a motion picture.

President Hillary Clinton: A future history story


The Democratic Party fatigued by the unending stream of Clinton scandals would have preferred anybody but Hillary as its 2016 presidential candidate.  But Elizabeth Warren refuses to oppose her, and Hillary’s strident, “Isn’t it time we had a woman president” campaign rhetoric and the enormous amount of money she has for her campaign keeps any other viable candidates from running against her, so reluctantly the Democrats embrace her and nominate her for president.  But her campaign is in trouble and even with Bill’s help—he is still the most popular politician in America—she is behind in the polls. 

While the mainstream media has fallen in line, the revelations about her soliciting foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State, her private email server which she used to circumvent the Federal Records Act, and the drip, drip, drip of information detailing her involvement and culpability in the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi are taking their toll, and Scott Walker, the Republican candidate, is not only ahead, he is surging in the polls while she is rapidly falling further and further behind.

With less than a month remaining before the election, Martin O’Malley, her vice presidential running mate, dies in a freak accident.  The circumstances surrounding his death are murky.  On leaving his hotel suite he stepped into the waiting elevator which then plunged 42 stories killing him, his campaign manager and several members of his security detail. Elevator accidents of this kind are almost unheard of, and rumors that he has been assassinated are widely circulated on the Internet, but not investigated by the local police or the media.  There is speculation that Hillary had arranged for his apparent accidental death, but it is written off as right-wing conspiratorial nonsense.

The Democratic National Committee immediately meets to select O’Malley’s replacement as the party’s vice presidential candidate.  With Hillary sinking in the polls, her campaign manager and her lawyer suggest that Bill be named as the new VP candidate. The 22nd Amendment states that “no person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.”  While the Amendment prevents anyone who has twice been elected president from being elected to that office again, it is mute on the subject of someone who has been president being elected as vice president.  The assumption was that such an occurrence would never happen because then if the ex-president who was now the vice president succeeded the president because the president died or otherwise became incapacitated that would be contrary to the intent (but not the specific wording) of the 22nd Amendment. The DNC realizing that the only way for Hillary to win would be if Bill was on the ticket ignores the intent of the 22nd Amendment and names him as her new running mate.

The Republican National Committee challenges the selection arguing Bill Clinton is ineligible to assume the office of vice president because the 12th Amendment states that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.”  Their argument is based on the premise that since the vice president must meet the same constitutional requirements as the president the 12th Amendment therefore bars anyone who has twice been elected president from becoming vice president or succeeding to the presidency.

The RNC files a suit with the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia to bar Bill from running.  Every Republican Secretary of State joins in the suit.  This makes the Republicans look frightened, and the mainstream media hammers them.  At the same time Bill’s addition to the ticket changes the complexion of the race.  Bill is still his charismatic and charming self, and many Americans tired of gridlock in Washington wistfully remember the good economic times of the Clinton years.  Hillary is now leading in the polls.

The Chief Judge of the DC Federal District Court is a Bill Clinton appointee, and he delays his ruling until the Friday before the election, and then dismisses the suit on the grounds that the RNC lacks the standing to bring such a suit.  The RNC requests an expedited appeal of his ruling directly to the Supreme Court, but before the Supreme Court can meet to decide whether to accept the RNC’s request to bypass the court of appeals and hear the case Hillary is elected by the narrowest of margins barely winning the swing states of Illinois, Missouri and Ohio.  However, widespread voter fraud is alleged in the cities of Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

After the election, the Supreme Court hears the case and decides by a 5-4 decision to dismiss the RNC’s suit.  The Chief Justice writing for the majority states that while the DNC’s action was contrary to the intent of the 22nd amendment it was not a violation of the 12th amendment since that amendment referred only to the qualifications for office stated in Article 2, which states, “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.”  Given the Supreme Court’s decision, the only way now to remove Bill Clinton from office would be by impeachment.  While the Republicans control the House and can vote a bill of impeachment, they lack the two-thirds majority needed in the Senate to remove the newly elected vice president from office so impeachment is out of the question.

Shortly after the inauguration, Hillary has a fatal embolism.  At least that is what the post mortem by her personal physician concludes.  The truth, however, is that Hillary’s personal physician is Bill’s mistress, and being helplessly in love with Bill, she poisoned Hillary.  The true facts of Hillary’s death are not known, but leaks by White House staffers and the revelation that Bill has been having an affair with the woman who was Hillary’s doctor cast a cloud over his succession to the presidency.  He is now the President.  But revelations about voter fraud in the recent election and the way Bill has succeeded to the presidency have caused enormous controversy.  There are pro and anti Clinton protests, and clashes between the protesters turn into full blown riots.  Bill declares martial law and rules by decree thus ending democracy in America.

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Al Kaltman -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Al Kaltman is a political science professor who teaches a leadership studies course at George Washington University.  He is the author of Cigars, Whiskey and Winning: Leadership Lessons from General Ulysses S. Grant.

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