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Friday, January 21, 2005

American Presidents

had a discussion with my friends over the number of terms that a prez can assume the office. here is an excerpt from wikipedia :

After Franklin Roosevelt's death, many desired to establish a firm constitutional provision barring presidents from being elected more than twice; hence, the Twenty-second Amendment was adopted. Under the amendment, no person may be elected president more than twice. Furthermore, no vice president or other person who has succeeded to the presidency, and served as president or acting president for more than two years, may be elected president more than once. Consequently, the amendment, while limiting a person to two elected four-year terms as president, theoretically does allow a person to serve up to ten years in office. If a person serving as vice president succeeds to the presidency, and serves for less than two years of the original president's term, he or she may still be elected twice and thus serve eight more years in office. As of 2005, the only president to have been eligible to serve more than eight years under the amendment was Lyndon Johnson. Johnson succeeded to the presidency when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and served less than two years of Kennedy's term. Had he run in 1968 and won, he could have been in office for ten years.

Some have questioned the interpretation of the Twenty-second Amendment as it relates to the Twelfth Amendment. The Twelfth Amendment provides that anyone constitutionally ineligible to the office of President is ineligible to that of Vice President. Clearly, the original constitutional qualifications (age, citizenship and residency) apply under the Twelfth Amendment to both the President and Vice President. It is unclear, however, if a two-term President could later be elected—or appointed—Vice President. Some argue that the Twenty-second Amendment and Twelfth Amendment bar any two-term President from later serving as Vice President and from succeeding to the Presidency from any point in the line of succession. Others suggest that the Twelfth Amendment concerns qualification for service, while the Twenty-second Amendment concerns qualifications for election. No two-term President has later sought to become Vice President since the ratification of the Twenty-Second Amendment; thus, the courts have never had an opportunity to decide the question.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton has recently voiced his opinion in favor of modifications to the 22nd Amendment. According to Mr. Clinton, former presidents and vice presidents who have already served two terms should be allowed to run for the office again, after some interim period has passed. He reasoned the country may wish to trust leadership onto an already tried and proven candidate in times of great need.


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