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#1
Old 08-07-2017, 10:26 PM
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Can the President fire the Vice President?

Can the President of the United States fire the Vice President of the United States (or otherwise compel the Vice President to resign?)
#2
Old 08-07-2017, 10:31 PM
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Nope.

He can ask, he can demand, he can threaten, but he has no power to remove the sitting Vice President.

The only thing he could do is replace him on the ticket in 2020.
#3
Old 08-07-2017, 10:33 PM
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No. The Vice-President is an elected official, not a hired employee.

The President could try to "encourage" the VP to resign through various nefarious schemes, (blackmail, etc.). However, the Vice President is subject to impeachment, the same as the President.
#4
Old 08-07-2017, 10:35 PM
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Unless there is some follow-up question that sparks a debate, this is more of a General Question than an Elections debate.

Off it goes.

[ /Moderating ]

Last edited by tomndebb; 08-07-2017 at 10:36 PM.
#5
Old 08-07-2017, 11:00 PM
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nope ...FDR wanted to get rid of vp Barkley and couldn't and it led to all sorts of undermining and other schemes and unpleasantness the like leading to barkleys isolation

in fact its known as the "Roosevelt Barkley pattern" in political science ....where the hopeful result is resignation or they choose not to run again .......
#6
Old 08-07-2017, 11:05 PM
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There isn't even a 25th Amendment-type procedure to remove an incapacitated VP--though that mostly wouldn't matter, except in the instance where say an insane President needed to be removed and the VP in a coma wasn't able to be part of the removal proceedings. Or where a controversial law needed to pass the Senate and the VP was unavailable to cast the deciding vote. Actually, as I write that, I wonder how the calculus on the recent health care bills would have changed if Pence (and I wish him no harm) had had a stroke and was unavailable to cast a deciding vote if necessary.

VP Cheney was famously so worried about this kind of possibility that he secretly wrote an undated letter of resignation for Bush to use if it became necessary.
#7
Old 08-07-2017, 11:11 PM
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Congress could choose to impeach and remove an incapacitated VP if they really wanted to. It would be an unusual use of the impeachment process, but perfectly legitimate.
#8
Old 08-07-2017, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by nightshadea View Post
nope ...FDR wanted to get rid of vp Barkley and couldn't and it led to all sorts of undermining and other schemes and unpleasantness the like leading to barkleys isolation

in fact its known as the "Roosevelt Barkley pattern" in political science ....where the hopeful result is resignation or they choose not to run again .......
Alben Barkley was Truman's VP, and back then no president gave his VP anything to do. Truman himself was horrified to learn of the existence of the atomic bomb only when he was sworn in as president.

As the VP has no specified powers other than casting a tiebreaking vote in the Senate, Barkley can't have been much of a bother to Truman. John Nance Gardner, one of FDR's actual VPs, had famously remarked that the Vice Presidency was not worth "a bucket of warm piss."

The era of VPs having any power at all (as delegated by the president) dates only to Carter, who gave Mondale some policy issues to deal with as well as a West Wing office. LBJ was the first to have an office on the WH grounds, but not in the WH itself. Johnson rather notoriously drank away his VP days in his Senate office, which was what all that VPs got before Johnson, and was probably nicer than his offices in the Old Executive Office Building.

TL;DR president can't fire the VP, that mostly doesn't matter.

Last edited by TSBG; 08-07-2017 at 11:22 PM.
#9
Old 08-07-2017, 11:35 PM
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Right, even if the President can't fire the VP, he can still just ignore him. Almost all of the power that the VP has, he only has because the President chooses to delegate it to him, and so the President could just choose not to delegate it to him, and possibly delegate that same power to some other individual instead if he wants to pretend that someone else is VP.
#10
Old 08-07-2017, 11:38 PM
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As has been mentioned the president cannot remove the vice president but the president can effectively sideline the VP so he has a low profile and is out of the loop.
#11
Old 08-08-2017, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by nightshadea View Post
nope ...FDR wanted to get rid of vp Barkley and couldn't and it led to all sorts of undermining and other schemes and unpleasantness the like leading to barkleys isolation

in fact its known as the "Roosevelt Barkley pattern" in political science ....where the hopeful result is resignation or they choose not to run again .......
I really doubt there's anything known as the Roosevelt Barkley pattern.
#12
Old 08-08-2017, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by nightshadea View Post
in fact its known as the "Roosevelt Barkley pattern" in political science ....where the hopeful result is resignation or they choose not to run again .......
I'm having problems with this, too. I looked up the term and got one hit-yours.
#13
Old 08-08-2017, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
As has been mentioned the president cannot remove the vice president but the president can effectively sideline the VP so he has a low profile and is out of the loop.
Sue, did the president call?
#14
Old 08-08-2017, 11:05 AM
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I should note for completeness' sake that, so far as I am aware, the answer to the question in the OP is undetermined. The probably answer is no, but since no President has actually tried doing it, and been told it didn't work by the Supreme Court, we don't know for certain. The Constitution of the United States itself is silent on the question. Like England, a lot of our actual constitution of government is based upon unwritten rules we follow.
#15
Old 08-08-2017, 11:13 AM
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If a president asked (told) a VP to resign, it would be an odd situation where the VP declined to do so. As noted, the president can make things miserable for the VP if he so chooses. Unless, of course, the president himself is in dire political trouble and is trying to get rid of the VP in order to save his own skin. But unless the VP had powerful allies, it would behoove him or her to "spend more time with the family".
#16
Old 08-08-2017, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
I should note for completeness' sake that, so far as I am aware, the answer to the question in the OP is undetermined. The probably answer is no, but since no President has actually tried doing it, and been told it didn't work by the Supreme Court, we don't know for certain. The Constitution of the United States itself is silent on the question. Like England, a lot of our actual constitution of government is based upon unwritten rules we follow.
It may be undetermined because no President has tried, but the Constitution already has a lot to say about it, with positive and negative evidence.

Article II, Section 4:
Quote:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
That's how a Vice President can be removed. Article I states that the House has the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments. Absolutely nothing about a President removing a VP from office.

Additionally, a Vice President is an independently elected position.The President cannot remove independently elected officials from office and have the Constitution retain any meaning, even if the issue is not directly addressed.

Yes, lots of things that are the subjects of political dramas are undetermined and some of them are interesting because they could in theory happen without anyone being quite sure of the outcome, allowing the writer considerable leeway. This does not. A President who tried to fire a VP wouldn't last long enough to be impeached. Article XXV, Section 4 would be instantly implemented.

Quote:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Or we could have chaos because the law has been abandoned. But I doubt anyone at the time would think the outcome is undetermined.
#17
Old 08-08-2017, 12:44 PM
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If the president were able to fire the vice president we would have found out pretty early, since John Adams would likely have kicked Thomas Jefferson to the curb (until the 12th amendment, each elector got two votes and the guy who came in second became vice president).
#18
Old 08-08-2017, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
If the president were able to fire the vice president we would have found out pretty early, since John Adams would likely have kicked Thomas Jefferson to the curb (until the 12th amendment, each elector got two votes and the guy who came in second became vice president).
And Jefferson would have fired Aaron Burr, who had challenged him for the Presidency when the election went to the House. Burr wasn't even fired after killing Alexander Hamilton in an illegal duel, but served out his term.
#19
Old 08-08-2017, 01:31 PM
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So for the current administration, we will remain in susPENCE (sic) until if/when it occurs.

#20
Old 08-08-2017, 02:22 PM
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Can someone run for the office of Vice President independently of a presidential candidate?
#21
Old 08-08-2017, 02:43 PM
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Can someone run for the office of Vice President independently of a presidential candidate?
Hope you don't mind, but I started a new GQ thread on this subject(giving you full credit, of course).
#22
Old 08-08-2017, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
And Jefferson would have fired Aaron Burr, who had challenged him for the Presidency when the election went to the House. Burr wasn't even fired after killing Alexander Hamilton in an illegal duel, but served out his term.
Couldn't POTUS challenge the VP to a dual, kill the VP and then pardon himself? There appears to be precedent here is all I'm saying. And damn that would make great TV! I'd watch that one, the ratings would be stellar.

Last edited by Si Amigo; 08-08-2017 at 02:55 PM.
#23
Old 08-08-2017, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
And Jefferson would have fired Aaron Burr, who had challenged him for the Presidency when the election went to the House. Burr wasn't even fired after killing Alexander Hamilton in an illegal duel, but served out his term.
Actually, Jefferson and Burr were allies in the same party (Democratic-Republican). The plan was to have one of their electors vote for Jefferson and abstain on his second vote, so that Jefferson would have one more vote than Burr and thus become president, with Burr as vice president. The plan got screwed up (not sure if it was by machinations by Burr) and they ended up tied. The house took 35 ballots but ended up with Jefferson as president and Burr as vice president, just as originally intended.
#24
Old 08-08-2017, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
As has been mentioned the president cannot remove the vice president but the president can effectively sideline the VP so he has a low profile and is out of the loop.
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Originally Posted by Shalmanese View Post
Sue, did the president call?
Obligatory Tom Lehrer reference.
#25
Old 08-08-2017, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Si Amigo View Post
Couldn't POTUS challenge the VP to a dual, kill the VP and then pardon himself? There appears to be precedent here is all I'm saying. And damn that would make great TV! I'd watch that one, the ratings would be stellar.
a. DuEl

b. It would have to be in the middle of Fifth Avenue, not in Jersey like Burr did it.
#26
Old 08-08-2017, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
Actually, Jefferson and Burr were allies in the same party (Democratic-Republican). The plan was to have one of their electors vote for Jefferson and abstain on his second vote, so that Jefferson would have one more vote than Burr and thus become president, with Burr as vice president. The plan got screwed up (not sure if it was by machinations by Burr) and they ended up tied. The house took 35 ballots but ended up with Jefferson as president and Burr as vice president, just as originally intended.
Burr was actually a Federalist but he was really more interested in Aaron Burr than he was in party politics. He threw in with Jefferson in order to get New York to vote for Jefferson with hopes that he, Burr, would succeed Jefferson as President. But Jefferson had no use for Burr any more than anybody else did. The Federalists in New York who supported Burr did so mainly to thwart Alexander Hamilton and his ambitions.
#27
Old 08-08-2017, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Si Amigo View Post
Couldn't POTUS challenge the VP to a dual, kill the VP and then pardon himself? There appears to be precedent here is all I'm saying. And damn that would make great TV! I'd watch that one, the ratings would be stellar.
The problem with this idea is that the President only has the power to pardon crimes against the United States. Murder is a state crime and so you'd need a state governor to pardon you.

Or find some territory with no local laws against murder. Washington DC is out, even though it's not a state the local cops can still arrest you for murder. Some uninhabited island under Federal control might do it.
#28
Old 08-08-2017, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
Actually, Jefferson and Burr were allies in the same party (Democratic-Republican). The plan was to have one of their electors vote for Jefferson and abstain on his second vote, so that Jefferson would have one more vote than Burr and thus become president, with Burr as vice president. The plan got screwed up (not sure if it was by machinations by Burr) and they ended up tied. The house took 35 ballots but ended up with Jefferson as president and Burr as vice president, just as originally intended.
But even if the screw-up was not originally engineered by Burr, he surely could have insisted that the electors adhere to the original plan.

Last edited by Colibri; 08-08-2017 at 04:27 PM.
#29
Old 08-08-2017, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Si Amigo View Post
Couldn't POTUS challenge the VP to a dual, kill the VP and then pardon himself? There appears to be precedent here is all I'm saying. And damn that would make great TV! I'd watch that one, the ratings would be stellar.


The Prez could only completely pardon himself if the duel were in DC or another area of exclusive federal jurisdiction. If it were any place else, the Prez would potentially be liable under state law, which could only be pardoned according to the law of that state.
#30
Old 08-08-2017, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
But even if the screw-up was not originally engineered by Burr, he surely could have insisted that the electors adhere to the original plan.
He didn't want to, he was hoping there would be enough of a cockup either for him to be elected directly, or it would get thrown into the House (like happened only four administrations later), and he would wind up as President.
#31
Old 08-08-2017, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by nightshadea View Post
nope ...FDR wanted to get rid of vp Barkley and couldn't and it led to all sorts of undermining and other schemes and unpleasantness the like leading to barkleys isolation

in fact its known as the "Roosevelt Barkley pattern" in political science ....where the hopeful result is resignation or they choose not to run again .......
It's been noted this is wrong, but for completeness, the poster is talking about either John Nance Garner (FDR's first VP) or Henry Wallace (his second.)

Garner was the one who called the vice presidency "not worth a bucket of warm piss." Garner broke with Roosevelt during their second term. Wallace was the one who was distrusted by the party bosses. FDR dumped him as VP, but kept Wallace on as Secretary of Commerce until Wallace later broke with Harry Truman.

And to the point of this thread, neither of them was "fired" by the President. Rather, they were denied renomination by their party, and thus didn't get on the ballot.

Last edited by kunilou; 08-08-2017 at 05:46 PM.
#32
Old 08-08-2017, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
The problem with this idea is that the President only has the power to pardon crimes against the United States. Murder is a state crime and so you'd need a state governor to pardon you.

Or find some territory with no local laws against murder. Washington DC is out, even though it's not a state the local cops can still arrest you for murder. Some uninhabited island under Federal control might do it.
What about a military base?
#33
Old 08-08-2017, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
It may be undetermined because no President has tried, but the Constitution already has a lot to say about it, with positive and negative evidence.

Article II, Section 4:

That's how a Vice President can be removed. Article I states that the House has the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments. Absolutely nothing about a President removing a VP from office.

Additionally, a Vice President is an independently elected position.The President cannot remove independently elected officials from office and have the Constitution retain any meaning, even if the issue is not directly addressed.

Yes, lots of things that are the subjects of political dramas are undetermined and some of them are interesting because they could in theory happen without anyone being quite sure of the outcome, allowing the writer considerable leeway. This does not. A President who tried to fire a VP wouldn't last long enough to be impeached. Article XXV, Section 4 would be instantly implemented.


Or we could have chaos because the law has been abandoned. But I doubt anyone at the time would think the outcome is undetermined.
First of all, none of this contradicts what I said. Nothing you quoted establishes that a President cannot fire the V-P. For example, the cabinet secretaries are impeachable, and can also be fired by the President. So the fact that the V-P is impeachable does not mean he's not fireable.

The rest of your screed is just "The Constitution According To Exapno Mapcase". It has no more or less validity than anything else you say. As I was at pains to point out, we are guided by unwritten law in our actual constitution of how our federal government works. Most people probably understood that to mean that I considered it very unlikely that the President could do it, even though I made the point that we don't know for certain. <smh>
#34
Old 08-08-2017, 06:26 PM
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No matter how hard you try to spin it, I did not even try to contradict you. Instead I added some context to the answer that you left out. Try it some time. You may feel good about yourself afterward.
#35
Old 08-08-2017, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Si Amigo View Post
Couldn't POTUS challenge the VP to a dual, kill the VP and then pardon himself? There appears to be precedent here is all I'm saying. And damn that would make great TV! I'd watch that one, the ratings would be stellar.

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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
The problem with this idea is that the President only has the power to pardon crimes against the United States. Murder is a state crime and so you'd need a state governor to pardon you.

Or find some territory with no local laws against murder. Washington DC is out, even though it's not a state the local cops can still arrest you for murder. Some uninhabited island under Federal control might do it.
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Originally Posted by Flyer View Post
What about a military base?

Doesn't have to be a military base. The federal government finally has a good use for one of those tiny random islands we have held onto all these years!

So it's settled. Jarvis Island. Ten paces and turn. High noon. Just need to pick the date.

And since people cannot easily travel to see the event live just set it up as a Pay Per View Event. The ratings would be YUUUUGEE! The biglyest and best ever!
#36
Old 08-08-2017, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
The problem with this idea is that the President only has the power to pardon crimes against the United States. Murder is a state crime and so you'd need a state governor to pardon you....
Murder of the Vice President, in a duel or otherwise, is already a Federal crime: https://law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1751
#37
Old 08-08-2017, 09:27 PM
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Sure, it's a federal crime. But the point is, it's also a state crime. So if you murder the vice president within a state, both the Feds and the state authorities can get a crack at you, and a pardon only takes care of one of those.
#38
Old 08-08-2017, 11:04 PM
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He didn't want to, he was hoping there would be enough of a cockup either for him to be elected directly, or it would get thrown into the House (like happened only four administrations later), and he would wind up as President.
My point was that Jefferson had plenty of reason to want to get rid of Burr, even if the original situation wasn't solely due to Burr's machinations.
#39
Old 08-08-2017, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
It may be undetermined because no President has tried, but the Constitution already has a lot to say about it, with positive and negative evidence.
Article II, section 1 also explicitly says the term of the vice president is four years:

Quote:
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows
#40
Old 08-08-2017, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
Article II, section 1 also explicitly says the term of the vice president is four years:
I'm not seeing your point. Yes, the term is four years, but the officeholder can be changed by resignation, death, or impeachment. If a firing were legal it would cut short the incumbent's length of time in office but wouldn't change the term at all. There are already procedures for replacing a vacancy in the office for the remainder of the term.

I think this is one of the things that can reasonably be said about the Constitution. The fact that no Vice President has ever been impeached doesn't mean everything that would happen if so is undetermined.
#41
Old 08-08-2017, 11:38 PM
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...Or find some territory with no local laws against murder. Washington DC is out, even though it's not a state the local cops can still arrest you for murder. Some uninhabited island under Federal control might do it.
Unlike a state the District of Columbia has no sovereignty; all crimes in the city are still federal crimes, even if Congress has delegated legislative authority to the City Council. They're even prosecuted by the United States Attorney's office instead of a prosecutor's office under local control.
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#42
Old 08-08-2017, 11:46 PM
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Or where a controversial law needed to pass the Senate and the VP was unavailable to cast the deciding vote.
That happened several times, prior to the passage of the 25th Amendment. Before the 25th was passed, there was no way to fill a vacancy in the Vice-presidency, whether by death, resignation or succession to the presidency.

• Madison had both of his V-P's (Gerry and Clinton) die in office;
• Calhoun resigned the office, leaving Jackson without a V-P in his first term;
• John Tyler succeed to the presidency on Harrison's death;
• Fillmore succeeded to the presidency on Taylor's death;
• King died of TB six weeks after being sworn in, so Pierce was without a V-P for almost his entire presidency;
• Johnson succeeded on Lincoln's death;
• Wilson died in office, so Grant was without a V-P for most of his second term;
• Arthur succeeded to the presidency on Garfield's death;
• Hendricks died in office after only eight months, so Cleveland was without a V-P for most of his first term;
• Hobart died after three years in office;
• Theodore Roosevelt succeeded to the presidency on McKinley's death;
• Coolidge succeeded to the presidency on Harding's death;
• Truman succeeded to the presidency on FDR's death;
• Johnson succeeded to the presidency on JFK's death.

And there were short gaps before Ford and then Rockefeller were confirmed as V-P under the 25th Amendment.

So for a considerable total length of time, there was no Vice-President to break ties in the Senate. Somehow the Republic survived. It just meant that a tied bill was defeated.
#43
Old 08-09-2017, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by alphaboi867 View Post
Unlike a state the District of Columbia has no sovereignty; all crimes in the city are still federal crimes, even if Congress has delegated legislative authority to the City Council. They're even prosecuted by the United States Attorney's office instead of a prosecutor's office under local control.
So they could duel on the White House lawn. Most Excellent!
#44
Old 08-09-2017, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
The Constitution of the United States itself is silent on the question.
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
It may be undetermined because no President has tried, but the Constitution already has a lot to say about it, with positive and negative evidence.
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
No matter how hard you try to spin it, I did not even try to contradict you.
Amazingly, when I say something is "silent" on a question, and you then say that it "has a lot to say about it", that's a literal contradiction. Funny how I might think that was what you were doing.
#45
Old 08-09-2017, 10:49 AM
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The vice-presidency was originally the position for the presidential runner-up. It would be pretty strange if anyone intended for the president to be able to fire him. Nowhere is it mentioned the VP serves at the pleasure of the president. The VP is also not purely a member of the executive branch as he serves as president of the Senate. I think we can very safely say the President cannot fire the VP anymore than he could fire a Senator.
#46
Old 08-09-2017, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
Most people probably understood that to mean that I considered it very unlikely that the President could do it, even though I made the point that we don't know for certain. <smh>
Given that the VP is an independently elected position, I think the likelihood that the president can unilaterally fire him is close enough zero to be effectively impossible. Dismissing an elected official without some kind of due process (impeachment or other judicial method) would violate basic democratic principles, no matter who does it.
#47
Old 08-09-2017, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
If a president asked (told) a VP to resign, it would be an odd situation where the VP declined to do so. As noted, the president can make things miserable for the VP if he so chooses. Unless, of course, the president himself is in dire political trouble and is trying to get rid of the VP in order to save his own skin. But unless the VP had powerful allies, it would behoove him or her to "spend more time with the family".
How unpleasant could he really make it though? Boring and low profile, sure. But let's say Pence and Trump start publicly hating each other. What could he do to Pence other than take away responsibilities?
#48
Old 08-09-2017, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
...

Or find some territory with no local laws against murder. Washington DC is out, even though it's not a state the local cops can still arrest you for murder. Some uninhabited island under Federal control might do it.
There's always that State Park place in Wyoming or wherever the hell it is (long GQ thread somewhere on that Murder-is-Legal, supposedly, special place).
#49
Old 08-09-2017, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
How unpleasant could he really make it though? Boring and low profile, sure. But let's say Pence and Trump start publicly hating each other. What could he do to Pence other than take away responsibilities?
A President could leave a V-P out of meetings, deny him briefings, and essentially deny him enough insider information so as to make the VP seem clueless.
#50
Old 08-09-2017, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
A President could leave a V-P out of meetings, deny him briefings, and essentially deny him enough insider information so as to make the VP seem clueless.
I see what you're saying; then Trump and Pence would be on even ground.

I suppose the President could also slash the VP's support staff and office space.
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