Vice-Presidency, Symposium, Alternatives


This transcript is part of the published proceedings of a symposium convened by the American Bar Association’s Special Committee on Election Reform, which the ABA formed in 1973 and was chaired by John D. Feerick. The symposium took place at Fordham Law School on December 3, 1976. It occurred in the wake of the Watergate era, which saw the resignation of one vice president, the appointment of two vice presidents pursuant to the Twenty-Fifth Amendment’s Section 2, and a vice president’s succession to the presidency. The symposium’s purpose was to assemble experts on the vice-presidency to develop reform proposals related to the office.

In this segment, the panelists discuss the idea of abolishing the office of the vice presidency, the vice president’s role as the first successor to the presidency, and the idea of holding a special election to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency as opposed to the Twenty-Fifth Amendment’s vice presidential replacement provision, which lets the president nominate a replacement subject to congressional approval. The following panelists participated in the discussion:

  1. Birch Bayh, U.S. Senator from Indiana and sponsor of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment
  2. Joel Goldstein, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford
  3. Robert Griffin, U.S. Senator from Michigan
  4. Charles H. Kirbo, Adviser to President Jimmy Carter
  5. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Professor at the City University of New York and author of “The Imperial Presidency”
  6. Donald Young, Senior Editor for American History and Political Science at Encyclopedia Americana

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