Let's say hypothetically that the following events happen:

  1. Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee for President of the United States in 2016.

  2. Hillary chooses her husband Bill Clinton to be her running mate.

  3. Hillary wins the 2016 election and becomes President, and Bill Clinton becomes Vice President.

  4. Sometime during her presidency, Hillary becomes incapacitated and can no longer serve as President.

What would happen in this scenario? Would Vice President Bill Clinton become President since he is next in line in the presidential line of succession? Or would he be ineligible to become President since the 22nd Amendment bars a person from serving more than two terms as President?

Or would he not even be eligible to become Vice President?

  • 5
    You skipped the part where it was decided that he was eligible to be VP, which is the real question. To be eligible to be VP, you must be eligible to be President.
    – cpast
    May 10, 2016 at 15:13
  • A relevant source to back up cpast's point: Vice President of the United States
    – isakbob
    Jun 12, 2018 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


The 22nd Amendment says that a person may not be elected to the office of the President more than twice. It also says that a person who has held the office / acted as President for more than 2 years may only be elected once. Under the proposes scenario, B. Clinton would succeed H. Clinton and could serve a third term. Since the 12th Amendment eligibility requirement is stated in terms of "being" rather that "becoming", the matter would end up in SCOTUS. See Peabody & Gant The Twice and Future President: Constitutional Interstices and the Twenty-Second Amendment 83 Minn. L. Rev. 565. The matter will reduce to the meaning of "eligible to the office", which in contemporary English is nonsense, but we don't rewrite The Constitution when language changes.

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