“Vice President Cheney has probably been the most dangerous Vice President we’ve had in American history. He has the idea…he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the Vice President of the United States. That’s the executive. He works in the executive branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.
“And the primary role of the Vice President of the United States of America is to support the President of the United States of America. Give that President his or her best judgment when sought and as the Vice President to preside over the senate only in a time when in fact there is a tie vote. The constitution is explicit, the only authority the Vice President has from a legislative standpoint is to vote only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea that he’s a part of the legislative branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of the unitary executive..and look where it’s gotten us.”
The Constitution is available online, so I went and looked at it. Now, i should note that I always thought the argument that Cheney was part of the Legislative Branch was pure BS, but I think, now, that I was wrong.
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Oops. Mister “Constitutional Scholar” doesn’t even know that the first article is about Congress, not the Presidency.
But, it turns out he was half right. Because every single power granted to the Vice President is granted in Article 1. Search the text for “Vice”, and see for yourself.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall choose their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside
So the VP is President of the Senate, gets to split ties, and presides over any impeachment except the President’s (and, presumably, his or her own).
Wow, you say, that’s a boring job. Does the Vice President have any other powers?
In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President
Yep, she gets to sit around and wait for the President to die or be incapacitated. There’s only one other place in Article 2 (the article that details that powers of the Executive Branch) where the Vice President is mentioned:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
So we know that the Vice President is not a “civil Officer of the United States” (since if she was, it would be “all other“, not just “all”), and she is removable by impeachment.
A while back, Governor Sarah Palin was asked if she’d be interested in being McCain’s VP. Her response was something on the order of “I’d have to find out what the role of the VP would be, first.” This is what she was talking about. The Constitution does not grant the Vice President any executive powers. If she is to have any power, it’s because the President has agreed to delegate those powers to her. So her comment wasn’t one of ignorance, it was one of understanding: “I can’t say yes until I know what I’m being offered.”
As for Senator Biden, he’s an idiot. The only things he got right were things that proved the opposite of what he said they did. He’s really the best that Obama could find?