Tuesday, June 12, 2012
How Long Is A President's Term In Dog Years?
Slate's doing this whole "how do we fix the Constitution" thing, which has been fairly engaging (and suprisingly not all "let's bring back the 3/5s clause" #slatepitches contrarianism). Michael McConnell proposed three amendments yesterday, including this:
I propose amending Article II, Section 1, and Amendment XXII as follows:
The President of the United States shall serve a single six-year term of office. In the event that the Vice President, or the next person in line, becomes President pursuant to Amendment XX, he shall be eligible to stand for election for a full term only if he has served less than three years as President.
Crazy enough, it just might work. If we were to adjust the presidential term, it would mesh pretty well with reforming the electoral process, too--we wouldn't be changing Executive functions, but mode of service, which might be a good thing with the evolution not only of the office but of society and technology.
Whatever, I'd have to ponder the merits of such an alteration more, as well as what the appropriate duration of a term would be. There was quite a bit of debate, oddly enough, in Philadelphia about that very thing:
- May 29 - Resd. that a National Executive be instituted; to be chosen by the National Legislature for the term of ----- years...and to be ineligible a second time... [The Randolph or Virginia Plan]
- June 18 - IV. The supreme Executive authority of the United States to be vested in a Governour to be elected to serve during good behaviour... [Hamilton shows his love of imperial executive power]
- August 6 - Sect. 1...He shall hold his office during the term of seven years; but shall not be elected a second time. [Report from the Committee of Detail]
- September 5 - Mr. PINKNEY renewed his opposition to the [Electoral College, proposed by the Committee of Eleven, which] was meant to get rid of the ineligibility of the President a second time, whereby he will become fixed for life under the auspices of the Senate [the chamber originally responsible for contingency elections]
Mr. RUTLIDGE was much opposed to the plan reported by the Committee. It would throw the whole power into the Senate. He was also against a re-eligibility. He moved to postpone the Report under consideration & take up the original plan... [Legislature appoints, seven year term]
- September 6 - Mr. HAMILTON...liked the new modification, on the whole, better than that in the printed Report. In this the President was a Monster elected for seven years, and ineligible afterwards; having great powers, in appointments to office, & continually tempted by this constitutional disqualification to abuse them in order to subvert the Government. Although he should be made re-eligible, still if appointed by the Legislature, he would be tempted to make use of corrupt influence to be continued in office... [Quite an about face on lifetime tenure]
I admit to being a little enamoured with the idea of an odd-numbered term. The overlap between cycles would have an interesting impact on the relationship between Congress and the president. Not sure that's a good thing necessarily, but something to consider.
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