End the duopoly

Scott Douglas Gerber: The social justice vice presidency


Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States, will soon be announcing his choice for vice president. Biden himself served two terms as President Barack Obama’s vice president.

If elected, Biden will become the oldest president in American history. His choice of a vice president is therefore particularly important.

Perhaps surprisingly, the U.S. Constitution says very little about the vice president. The framers’ 1787 Constitution specified that: the vice president would be president of the Senate (but could vote only to break a tie);

the vice president’s term, like that of the president, was four years; the vice president was the person who finished second in the presidential election;

and “In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office,” the vice president would assume the powers and duties of the president.

In the two centuries since the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791, four of the 17 amendments to the Constitution have affected the Vice Presidency.

When the presidential election of 1800 resulted in an electoral tie, the selection of the president defaulted to the House of […]

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