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Various corners of theinternet have suggested that President Trump is somehow eligible to run for a third term as President.
– I'd be for a thirdterm in heartbeat, yeah.
– If we could put him onanother third term, we got him.
– Pundits have jumped in, and even the Presidenthimself has suggested that he might be eligible to get more than eight years in office.
– And then do you want toreally drive them crazy? Go to #thirdterm #fourthterm.
You'll drive them totally crazy.
– On multiple occasions.
– And if things keepgoing like they're going, we'll go and we'll do what we have to do.
We'll do a three and four and a five.
– Of course, we alllearned in grade school that President's are limited to two terms.
But is there a clever wayaround it, through, perhaps, impeachment or an end runaround the vice presidency? Well, I took a deep dive into this just because I was curious, and also terrified.
So you don't have to.
So stick around and let'sfigure out if there's a way to get more than eight yearsin office as President.
(grand orchestral music) Hey, LegalEagles, it's timeto think like a lawyer, because Jerry Falwell, Jr.
suggested that President Trump should add two years to hispresidency to make up for the indignity of the Muellerinvestigation, tweeting, “After the best week everfor @realDonaldTrummp – “no obstruction, no collusion, New York Time admits “Barack Obama did spy on his campaign, “and the economy is soaring.
“I now support reparations -Trump should have two years “added to his first termas pay back for time stolen “by this corrupt failed coup.
” Adding fuel to the fire, President Trump has sometimes speculated on whether he could seek a third term.
– Under the normal rules, I'll be out in 2024.
So we may have to go for an extra term.
– Now, the 22nd Amendmentlimits a President to two terms in office.
But other President's have also mentioned serving a little bit longer.
During his second term in 1987, Ronald Reagan said maybethere should be a movement to repeal to the 22nd Amendment.
And the grandiosity is notlimited to Republicans.
Barack Obama said that hethought he could be elected a third time if he was eligible to run.
And all this poses the question, can a President serve morethan eight years in office? Now, to answer this question we have to go all the way back to the Revolutionary War.
The framers seriouslyconsidered making the office of presidency a lifetime appointment.
And although they didn'tgo through with this plan, they were still reluctant to limit the President's time in office.
As a result, there were no term limits in the version of the Constitution that was ratified in 1788.
The final version of theConstitution ratified by the states made the office of Presidenta four year position.
The Constitution also grantedthe office of Vice President who would be the President's successor in the event the Presidentcould no longer serve.
Of course, at the timethe Constitution specified that the person who finished second in the Presidential electionwould win the vice presidency, which was a terrible idea thathad horrible repercussions that I'll probably cover in another video.
Now, George Washington was the only man ever seriously considered for the first President of the United States.
Everyone assumed hewould win in a landslide.
And he did twice.
This is probably why manypeople would have been happy to make Washington President for life.
Or an elected king.
Luckily, Washington was notokay serving as President for life, so when he ranhe privately assured people that he wouldn't even servea full four-year term.
And he confided in Alexander Hamilton that he thought he wouldonly serve for two years and get everything straightenedout and then retire early.
Though Washington didrun for President twice and was elected twice, he decided to retire after the end of his second term.
This move set a precedentthat lasted 150 years.
Washington's retirementestablished a custom that President's followeduntil the 20th Century when Franklin Delano Rooseveltwas elected four times.
This is why customsand laws are different.
A custom is defined as a traditional and widely accepted way ofbehaving or doing something that is specific to a particularsociety, place, or time.
A custom is an accepted normthat cannot be enforced by law.
By contrast, laws, as you know, are systems of rules enactedby a governing authority which can enforce them through penalties.
And although most President'sfollowed Washington's custom of quitting after two terms, some of them tried for a third term.
Grant ran fora third term in 1880, but lost to James Garfieldin the Republican primary.
Grover Cleveland wanted a third term, but nobody wanted him.
Now, Teddy Rooseveltserved as Vice President for James McKinley andbecame President in 1902 after McKinley was assassinated.
Dog was re-elected in 1904 and served a full four-year term.
But in 1912 he ran for athird non-consecutive term, this time as nominee ofthe Progressive Party.
But he lost to Woodrow Wilson.
Wilson himself sought a third term, but the Democratic Partydeclined to nominate him.
Enter Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Franklin Roosevelt is the onlyperson elected for President for more than two terms.
He succeeded in getting a third term because he was President during a time of unprecedented crisis for America, both the Great Depression, and World War II.
– I will, with God's help, continue to serve withthe best of my ability and with the fullness of my strength.
– Of course, the rest is history.
Roosevelt was elected toa fourth term in 1944, shattering the two term custom.
At the same time, in GreatBritain the war also prompted a crisis of leadership.
In 1940, Britain amendedits Parliament Act, which had permitted a generalelection every five years.
Parliament instead opted toextend Winston Churchill's government for five more years.
Although the war was Roosevelt'sprimary justification for serving four terms, not everyone was okaywith this development.
Members of Congress had beenproposing term limit motions for 140 years, and they continued to do so during Roosevelt's time in office.
Roosevelt was in officefrom 1933 until 1945.
Roosevelt died in office just 11 weeks into his fourth term, at which term Vice PresidentHarry Truman became President.
In 1947, Congress passedthe 22nd Amendment which limited the President to two four-year terms in office.
If was finally ratifiedby the states in 1951.
Now, the 22nd Amendment reads “No person shall be electedto the office of the President “more than twice, andno person who has held “the office of President, or acted as President “for more than twoyears of a term to which “some other person was electedPresident shall be elected “to the office of thePresident more than once.
” So the 22nd Amendment saysa person can only be elected to be President two timesfor a total of eight years.
A person can serve fora maximum of 10 years in the case of a Presidentwho is ascended to the position as a Vice President.
That means it's theoretically possible for a President to serve morethan eight years in office.
And a funny thing actuallyhappened while Congress and the states were ratifyingthe 22nd Amendment limiting the number of years a personcan serve as President.
In fact, President Truman triedto win a third term in 1952.
The amendment didn't apply to him, since he was Presidentwhen the rule was passed, because the second clausein the 22nd Amendment reads “But this Article shallnot apply to any person “holding the office ofPresident when this Article “was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent “any person who may be holdingthe office of President “or acting as Presidentduring the term within “which this Article becomesoperative from holding “the office of Presidentor acting as President “during the remainder of such term.
” So that gave Truman thegreen light to run again.
But Truman dropped his bid when he lost the New Hampshire primary.
But, of course, because you'rewatching this video right now this amendment did not settlethe debate over term limits.
And Truman wasn't the last President to consider a third term.
So the question is whathappens if a President dies, resigns, or is impeached? The 22nd Amendment hasa provision covering what happens if the VicePresident is forced to take over.
If a Vice President takes overbecause the President dies, is forced to resign, or is impeached, then serves less than two years, then the person may servefor two terms as President.
So for example, ifDonald Trump were to die between now and January of 2021, which seems unlikely given thathe's the paragon of health, then Mike Pence could takeover and run for two terms as President serving outroughly nine years as President.
But if the President dies within two years of getting the office, like FDR, who died within 11 weeksof getting his fourth term, then the person who becomesPresident can only serve out the remaining portionof that President's term and seek re-election once.
This would have been the situation for Vice President Gerald Ford, who stepped in after President Nixon resigned in 1973.
Ford was only eligibleto be re-elected once.
He pardoned Richard Nixon, and lost the 1976election to Jimmy Carter.
And if you read the textof the 22nd Amendment, it seems to have some open questions.
For example, does it only prevent consecutive four year terms? Can a person serve two terms, return to private life, andthen come back for a third? Well, the answer is no.
A President cannot run for a third term after skipping a term.
The amendment does actuallycount the years served, not concurrent terms.
President Obama, for example, has already served two terms, and eight years.
He cannot run for twomore consecutive terms later in his life, or even one more term later in his life.
Now, some of President Trump's supports have suggested that since he was impeached by the House, but notconvicted in the Senate, he's eligible to run for two more terms.
The reasoning seems tobe that impeachment, even without removal from office, nullifies his first term in office.
So what impact, if any, does the impeachment process have on a person's abilityto serve more than two terms? Well, the constitutionalmechanism for impeachment of a federal officer, including a President, is set forth by Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, which reads, “thePresident, Vice President, “and all civil officersof the United States “shall be removed fromoffice on impeachment for, “and conviction of treason, bribery, “and other high crimes and misdemeanors.
” The House did in factimpeach President Trump.
Don't listen to anyone that says President Trump was not impeached.
But the Senate did notvote to convict and remove.
Now, the Constitutionin Article I, Section 3 says that the politicalconsequences of impeachment “shall not extend furtherthan to removal of office, “and disqualification tohold and enjoy any office “of honor, trust or profitunder the United States.
” This means that if a Presidentis impeached and removed his or her removal is the only political consequence that they face.
Now, the person may stillface criminal charges, but that's not a political issue.
Although, PresidentTrump and his supporters have argued that impeachment nullifies an election's results, thisis definitely not the case.
The only politicalconsequence of impeachment are removal and disqualification, which we'll get to in a minute.
Impeachment doesn't operate to somehow give the impeached personmore time in office.
So President Trump's timein office is not nullified, and he's still boundby the 22nd Amendment.
But what would happen if a President was impeached and removed? Could he or she run for a third term then? Well, the text of ArticleI, Section 3 seems to imply that impeachment and convictiondisqualifies a person from running for a high office later on in their post-impeachment life.
Section 3 says that inaddition to removal, the only politicalconsequence of conviction is “disqualification tohold and enjoy any office “of honor, trust, or profitunder the United States.
” In 2015, the CongressionalResearch Service explained that the Senate wouldneed to vote separately on whether a person isdisqualified from future office in conjunction with theimpeachment trial, stating, “although removal fromoffice would appear to flow “automatically from convictionon an article of impeachment, “a separate vote is necessaryshould the Senate deem it “appropriate to disqualifythe individual convicted “from holding future federaloffices of public trust.
“Approval of such a measurerequires only the support “of a simple majority.
” The report concluded that even if a person is removed from federal office, they may still hold another high office, even President, if voters elect them.
The Senate has usedthis procedure to decide whether other federaloffice holders, like judges, should be barred fromfuture federal offices.
If applied in the Presidential context, the Senate could vote bymajority to disqualify a convicted President from future office.
There's an additionalwrinkle to disqualification.
The Constitution isn't clearon which public offices are those of “honor, trust, or profit.
” You might conclude thatoffices of Senator, Representative, orPresident are such offices.
Or you can conclude exactly the opposite.
This has not been settled, or even tested.
The Congressional Research Office is not necessarily the final word.
That would be with theSupreme Court presumably.
And maybe this section ofthe Constitution merely means a person is disqualifiedfor federal offices, but is free to run for state office.
But the bottom line is this.
If the Senate convicts thePresident and doesn't hold the crucial follow-upvote on disqualification, that person is free torun for another office.
This may include the presidency, but only if the person hasnot served two full terms.
Then that's all well andgood about the presidency.
But maybe the vicepresidency is an end run around the 22nd Amendment.
So the first questionis do Vice President's even have term limits? The answer is actually no.
Vice President's are notsubjected to term limits.
They are treated the sameas members of Congress, who also have no limits onhow long they can serve.
Now, Mike Pence mightnever become President.
But let's say he servesout eight full years with President Trump, and then audible shudder, Ivanka Trump becomes President in 2024.
Could Mike Pence then serveas her Vice President? The answer is yes.
If Mike Pence wants tobecome a kind of permanent Vice President President sitter, there's nothing in the Constitution that would prevent this scenario.
In fact, this has actually happened twice.
No, not that George Clinton, and not that Parliament.
It was George Clinton, who was the Vice President for both Thomas Jeffersonand James Madison.
Similarly, John C.
Calhounserved as under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.
So we know that Vice President's can serve more or less indefinitely.
But there's one hypotheticalthat certain parts of the internet have really glommed onto.
There might be oneactual way to get around the limitations of the 22nd Amendment.
That involves the officeof vice presidency.
It might be possible for an ex-President to become Vice President and actually get more time in office thanthey normally would.
But the first question is, can an ex-President evenserve as Vice President? The answer is yes.
This seems like the lastthing any ex-President would actually want to do.
But a President is not barred from later deciding to be the Vice President.
No former President has ever volunteered to be Vice President, but there's nothing in the Constitution that would stop it.
So given that a formerPresident can actually be Vice President, one wayto potentially get around the 22nd Amendment wouldbe for the President to step down after their second full term, to then serve as someoneelse's Vice President, and then for that President to step down, or resign, or beimpeached, or to just die.
At that point the VicePresident would then attain the office of presidency.
So in that situation, thePresident turned Vice President, turned President again wouldn't be elected to the office ofPresident more than twice.
But they would be ableto serve out more than the mere eight years.
And if you couple thatwith becoming President after starting out as Vice President, that could be 10 years already, you could add almost fouryears on top of that.
But hopefully thatsituation never happens.
It's a constitutional ambiguity, and hopefully we won'thave to deal with that.
But I, for one, don'tunderstand why any President would want to run for a third term, because being President is temporary.
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So do you agree with my analysis? Leave your objections in the comments, and check out my otherreal law reviews over here where I talk about all ofthe legal issues of the days, like Devin Nunes's lawsuitsand Presidential impeachment.
Just click on this playlist, and I'll see you in court.