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Could This Legal Loophole Grant Obama A Third Term?

A legal expert has said that he believed if Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton were to resign due to health problems after she were elected but before she was inaugurated, her electors could bypass the Twenty-Second Amendment and let Barack Obama stay on for a third term.

In a piece at Constitution Rising, Rick Wells pointed out that the 22nd Amendment made it impossible for President Obama to run for a third term. However, if Hillary’s health forces her to abdicate between the election and inauguration, it could open up a window for Obama.

“There’s been quite a bit of discussion over the past few weeks about the bizarre behavior of Hillary Clinton,” Wells wrote.

“The talk of her early departure has intensified along with her coughing fits and absences from the campaign trail. She’s clearly not well and her history of brain injuries have prompted speculation that she may not last or be up to the rigors of either the campaign or the presidency. A common opinion among many is she is exhibiting symptoms and behavior associated with Parkinson’s Disease.

“The developments of Sunday have made the possibility of her departure seem more certain,” he added.

“Obama is unpredictable but it is somewhat reassuring to know that the mechanisms are in place for a peaceful and orderly response to a situation in which Hillary Clinton is forced out of the race,” Wells continued.

“As depressing and ruinous as the prospect of a parasitic Democrat in the White House for another four years would be, we can at least take comfort in knowing that there is a system in place to address the transfer of power question. Or can we?”

Wells may be a bit of a conspiracy theorist, but the legal expert he linked to at LawNewz, Ronn Blitzer, isn’t. According to his LinkedIn profile, he’s graduated Cornell Law and has practiced law, as well as served as an editor at the respected legal site (even in spite of that “z” at the end of its name).

According to the article, “the Democratic National Committee has rules in place to handle the Clinton situation. Article 2, Section 7 of the DNC Bylaws says that if there is a vacancy on the national ticket, a special meeting of the Committee ‘shall be held on the call of the Chairperson,’ where they would choose a new candidate. Such meetings make decisions based on a majority of those in attendance.”

Blitzer also pointed out that “if a candidate withdraws after the general election, but before the electoral college meets, federal law says that electors can vote for whomever they want, although states can pass their own laws on the matter.”

While there is a constitutional precedent if the president-elect dies between election and inauguration — the vice president-elect would take office — nothing provides for a hypothetical case in which the president-elect decides to recuse themselves from the duties of the office.

So technically, the strictures of the 22nd Amendment might not necessarily prevent Obama from seeking a third term. The DNC could theoretically select Obama if Clinton withdrew and the electors could certify him for a third term.

The language of the 22nd Amendment is a bit sticky, too: It says that no “person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of president, or acted as president, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected president shall be elected to the office of president more than once.”

What it means to “be elected” has never been decided by the Supreme Court for the very valid reason that no case has ever come before it in which clarification of the phrase was needed.

Does the phrase mean to compete in the general election? Or, does it mean to be certified by the college of electors? That lack of clarification could be a problem with a court that’s taken an increasingly leftist turn in recent years.

This talk of a third term would have been idle speculation and conspiracy theory until Sunday, when the apparently precarious health of Hillary Clinton went on full display for the nation.

The window for a third term is a narrow one, of course. But it is one where the proverbial “perfect storm” is a’brewing, and it would be foolish not to look at the massive ramifications if this unlikely loophole were to be exploited.

(via: Conservative Tribune)

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