Thursday, June 19, 2008

President of the Senate

I had an idea two weeks ago. It addresses a problem I've been thinking about since the mid-90's, the office of Vice President, which is increasingly becoming problematic. Witness Vice President Dick Cheney's disavowal of executive membership simultaneous to his apparent unprecedented exercise of executive power.

Let's elect the President of the Senate, as such. This is the office the Constitution gives the Vice President. Let's underline how seriously we expect him to take this important office and that we expect him to preside over a separate and important branch.

Just had lunch with a lawyer friend of mine, who liked the idea. So here it is.

Update (Aug 17, 2008): This morning I read some history and validation on the issue of the vice presidency and the separation of powers. Did this particular degeneration begin with Eisenhower?

Stephen Griffin in a post yesterday at Balkanization, Was Addington Right about the Vice Presidency? , quotes Douglas T. Stuart from his recent book Creating the National Security State,

Richard Nixon was asked by Eisenhower to replace the Secretary of State as presiding chairman of the NSC in the president's absence.
Griffin later comments,
If the VP is indeed more part of the legislative branch than the executive, that means he cannot be given any substantial executive responsibility. Among other points, that would violate the separation of offices that is so important to the the constitutional plan.


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