Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Monday, March 08, 2004

BILL CLINTON, THE VICE PRESIDENCY & AMENDMENTS XII AND XXII Over at the Conspiracy, Professor Volokh rejoins the fray over whether Clinton would eligible to serve as John Kerry's vice president. He thinks he's not; others think he is. I'm inclined to agree with Professor Volokh, but what do I know?

My question: who cares? Not to dis people who make their livings as legal academics, but isn't this debate a bit, er, academic? Lets say, hypothetically, that Clinton does join Kerry on the Democratic ticket. Lets say they win. To quote "Dude, Where's My Car", and then? There'll be a lawsuit? Who has standing to sue? Bush? Is the Supreme Court actually going to invalidate Clinton's election to the vice presidency on the grounds that it violates the Twelfth and Twenty-Second Amendments? (Just like they invalidated Hugo Black's appointment on the grounds that it violated Article I, Section 6?) Isn't this a quintessential political question? Are the constitutional requirements for officeholding, or at least the presidency, judicially enforceable?

What if a person is elected president when he's 34, but will turn 35 before he's sworn in? Is that person "eligible" for the office of president under Article II, Section 1? Doesn't it matter that the people presumptively considered the issue and decided it didn't disqualify the candidate? What if the people decided a 33-year-old was "good enough"? I'm not saying these aren't violations of the Constitution. What I am saying is: do we want the Supreme Court essentially deposing duly elected presidents?