Jace Motley


vice president, vice presidency; amendments, elections


The concept of an independent American vice presidency is nothing new, and historians and scholars have wrestled with the idea at length. In fact, one of the central debates around the adoption of the Twelfth Amendment—the constitutional amendment that requires separate electoral votes for President and Vice President—was the degree of political independence that the Constitution should afford the vice presidency. Over the past two centuries, multiple attempts have been made to address the office’s shortcomings, as evidenced by the fact that nearly twenty-three percent of the post-Bill of Rights amendments to the Constitution have either directly or indirectly implicated the Vice President. Today, the unprecedented vice presidencies of Michael (“Mike”) R. Pence and Kamala D. Harris have ushered in several historic firsts for the office and have spawned contemporary political and constitutional considerations for revisiting the Vice President’s role in government. In light of these developments, this Comment presents a renewed case for vice-presidential independence and proposes going one step further: electing the Vice President independently at the midterm elections.

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