Can Vice Presidents Serve More Than 2 Terms? Joe Biden Could Set A Record But It's Really Unlikely
Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that while he didn't make a White House run, he would have "been the best president." Biden told ABCs Good Morning America, "No one should ever seek the presidency unless they're able to devote their whole heart and soul and passion into just doing that. And, Beau [his son who passed away last year] was my soul. I just wasn't ready to be able to do that." However, while he won't be running for president, could Biden keep his veep position for another term? Can a vice president hold more than two terms?
It's safe to say that Biden, despite his rare ability to engender respect and good will across party lines (which, it should be noted, that his son shared), will not be on the VP shortlist Donald Trump keeps referencing. It's also pretty solid to assume Biden won't be Hillary Clinton's VP pick either, so we'll just have to be satisfied that we had a good eight years of Biden. Hypothetically, though, the whole thing does raise the interesting question of whether or not a vice president can serve more than two terms.
As you may or may not recall, depending on your memory of high school U.S. history, our 22nd Amendment outlines term limits, though specifically presidential ones. It states:
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
There's no mention of constraints on VP terms, though. It may come as a surprise, but according to the Annenberg Public Policy Centers FactCheck.Org project, "In theory, an individual could hold the office as long as he or she wishes. But, in practice, no one has served more than two terms."
Of course, no one's ever really made the attempt to be a career VP. In fact, according to FactCheck.Org, out of all of our nation's vice presidents, only eight have actually served two complete terms (they list seven, but that was in 2008 and so it didn't include Dick Cheney). Biden, of course, will become the ninth in January 2017. But who knows? Maybe Uncle Joe could set a record with a third term as VP, if Clinton or Trump go for a really unpredictable pick.