Saturday, October 04, 2008

Expand the powers of the Vice President?

Such an act would require a constitutional amendment.

Sarah Palin's idea to expand the governmental powers of the office of the Vice President in yesterday’s debate raised criticism from a variety of sources, I among them.  The office of the Vice President is clearly defined in the constitution as the replacement for the sitting President and as the presiding officer of the Senate.  If the President is unable to perform their duty or dies in office the Vice President becomes the President.  As the President of the Senate all the VP does is preside over debate and voting and to pass a tie breaking vote if the Senate is split.  There is NO OTHER job or authority assigned to the office of the Vice President.  Without an amendment to the constitution, assigning new power to the office would be unconstitutional and thus illegal.

However, this does not mean the President can't use the Vice President as a proxy or representative, which is quite common and does not provide the Vice President any additional powers.