Observing the line of succession to be the president. Among the first 10, there is one person ineligible to be president by birth.

The Secretary of the Interior is ineligible and is skipped. So, could Bill Clinton still run as a Vice President and be skipped in the event of Hillary Clinton's removal? Thus the Speaker of the House would be second in line to the presidency? It would be the same as the Secretary of Agriculture being raised to 8th due to the ineligibility of Secretary of the Interior.


2 Answers 2


From the Wikipedia article about the Vice President, the part that says

no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.

makes it pretty clear. Since Bill Clinton can no longer be President of the United States (already been twice) he cannot be Vice President

  • 2
    But according to @Julian Rosen 's answer, he is not eligible to be elected but would still be eligible if not elected.
    – spacetyper
    Sep 14, 2016 at 15:24
  • 3
    @spacetyper but "eligible" almost certainly means "electable" in the 12th amendment. The word "electable" did not appear until the late 19th century.
    – phoog
    May 16, 2018 at 2:29
  • @spacetyper and I've recently noticed that the question of term limits for the president was discussed at the constitutional convention as a question of whether the president should be "re-eligible," meaning the same as "re-electable" in modern English.
    – phoog
    Jul 28, 2021 at 23:54

The twenty-second amendment to the US Constitution establishes the presidential term limit. The text of the amendment begins (emphasis mine): "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice". Taken completely literally, this does not restrict who is eligible to become president by means other than election, particularly succession. Of course, courts do not always interpret the Constitution completely literally, and if a former two-term president was selected as vice president, it would ultimately fall to the courts to decide whether the Constitution permits this. Given the lack of precedent, it is hard to have much confidence in what the outcome would be.

Peabody and Gant argue in a 1999 article in the Minnesota Law Review (The Twice and Future President: Constitutional Interstices and the Twenty-Second Amendment) that not only does the Constitution permit Bill Clinton to be elected as vice president, but it also permits him to act as president in the event the elected president became unable to serve. This opinion piece from a few months ago at the Washington Post has an interesting discussion.

  • 4
    Until the late 19th century, the only word in the English language that bore the meaning "able to be elected" was "eligible," so drawing a distinction between "electable" and "eligible" in reading the twelfth amendment is an utter anachronism.
    – phoog
    May 16, 2018 at 2:32
  • Since leaving my previous comment, I have come upon another bit of evidence in favor of my interpretation: there was some debate at the constitutional convention as to whether the president should be limited to one term of office. The debate was framed as a question about whether the president should be "re-eligible."
    – phoog
    Jul 28, 2021 at 23:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .