The Instigator
clsmooth
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
The_Silent_Consensus
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points

The 12th Amendment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/25/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,003 times Debate No: 5141
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (4)

 

clsmooth

Con

I support the repeal of the 12th amendment, which is pasted in its entirety below:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;

The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.

The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
The_Silent_Consensus

Pro

Thank you for inviting me to this debate. I have always had the pleasure of being able to debate you the times I have, and this should be no exception.

I support the 12th Amendment. Under the old system, where the runner-up became vice president, you could have a president and vice president who do not like each other, disagree on about everything, and a vice president undermining everything the president is doing. The office of the presidency is too important for something like that to occur.

Furthermore, and more importantly, the vice presidential position is one step away from the presidency. He/she has to be able to assume the presidency on a moments notice, and it's important that they be on the same page. The people voted for the president, and if a death or vacancy occurred, it's more likely they would want someone who's on the same page to succeed the president, not a person with a different agenda who didn't get the majority vote.

For example, in 1996, when it was Clinton vs. Dole, Dole would have become Clinton's vice president. What benefit would that have given?

Now, you may say that the 12th Amendment has created the 2-party system, and that's not the case. The 2-party system started before the 12th Amendment.
Debate Round No. 1
clsmooth

Con

"Under the old system, where the runner-up became vice president, you could have a president and vice president who do not like each other, disagree on about everything, and a vice president undermining everything the president is doing."

Exactly! That's the beauty of it!

"The office of the presidency is too important for something like that to occur."

No, the office of the presidency is too important for something like that NOT to occur.

The framers were very wise in setting up this aspect of the government. The vice president, who has very few constitutional powers, was intended to be a watchdog against abuses by the president. Impeachment was supposed to be applied for really any deviation from proper constitutional governance, and many hardcore libertarian scholars make the argument that virtually every president to ever hold the office, save for possibly Grover Cleveland, could have and probably should have been impeached.

But with the 12th Amendment, the power of impeachment is totally defanged. For who cares for impeaching Bill Clinton when he is to be replaced with Al Gore; or worse yet, George W. Bush to be replaced with Cheney? If impeaching Bush meant that Kerry would take office, then impeachment would be taken much more seriously and the president would be under greater pressure to uphold his oath of office to preserve and defend the Constitution.

The Founding Fathers were contentious group of men. They agreed unanimously on very little. But one thing I'm fairly certain they were in 100% agreement on was in the folly of what they called "faction," or what we call today "party politics." And the founders were clear that the worse possible system would be one of two large factions in which one faction would also be a majority and its opponent a minority -- the very system that has been in place for the last several hundred years. Although the 12th Amendment did not create the system, it certainly solidified it.
The_Silent_Consensus

Pro

"The vice president, who has very few constitutional powers, was intended to be a watchdog against abuses by the president. Impeachment was supposed to be applied for really any deviation from proper constitutional governance"

The vice president was meant to be President of the Senate and have a tiebreaking vote if need be, and most importantly, to succeed the president if a vacancy occurred. Nowhere in the Constitution does it talk about being a watchdog.

"For who cares for impeaching Bill Clinton when he is to be replaced with Al Gore; or worse yet, George W. Bush to be replaced with Cheney?"

Impeachment isn't supposed to be about policy. It's supposed to be about the president being removed for a crime. If Clinton committed a crime and Gore didn't, then of course Gore should then succeed him. After all, the people voted for the policies of Clinton, not the crimes. Gore would represent that. The people who voted for the runner-up shouldn't suddenly be on top because the winner got impeached. With the 12th Amendment, the president and vice president can represent the country, and even with a death or vacancy, the policies the people voted for can still be implemented.

"If impeaching Bush meant that Kerry would take office, then impeachment would be taken much more seriously and the president would be under greater pressure to uphold his oath of office to preserve and defend the Constitution."

Leaving out the logic I said above, assuming this logic is true, just take a Congress of the opposite party of the president, and then it will be done more indiscriminately.

Lastly, the 12th Amendment didn't solidify the two-party system. It arose because of the two-party system. The founders didn't envision two parties becoming arch enemies when they wrote the Constitution (so no, I don't think it was their intention for the VP to undermine everything the president does), and when it arose (see 1800 election. Jefferson and Burr were two Democratic-Republican candidates, and they received an equal amount of votes, and got the most. The tie went to the House, but the length of the battle aroused fear about no president being able to take office on inauguration day) they realized a need for change
Debate Round No. 2
clsmooth

Con

"The vice president was meant to be President of the Senate and have a tiebreaking vote if need be, and most importantly, to succeed the president if a vacancy occurred. Nowhere in the Constitution does it talk about being a watchdog."

This is a silly argument. The Constitution does not talk about the VP being a "watchdog," but what do you expect a man to be who finished second in the voting? What would John Kerry be to George W. Bush, or Bob Dole to Bill Clinton? Do you mean to tell me that you think the framers thought the vice president would be something other than adversarial to the president he finished second to? The vice president is given very few powers by the Constitution, but he is a man who has free speech. Look at how Jefferson responded to the Alien and Sedition Acts under the tyrant John Adams: THAT is how a vice president was intended to behave; NOT as Dick Cheney and Dan Quayle and all other VPs since the dreaded 12th Amendment was passed has behaved.

The 12th Amendment not only enshrined the duopolistic political party system, it also strengthened the executive branch at the expense of the legislative, disrupting the balance the framers and ratifiers intended. It made the president stronger by removing his adversary from the executive branch, AND it gave the president the tie vote in the Senate, whereas it would previously have almost certainly been against him.

As for your second part: Of course the people in power found it inconvenient to have the original system -- POLITICIANS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE "INCONVENIENCED" BY THE CONSTITUTION.
The_Silent_Consensus

Pro

I think the framers had in mind what they wrote in the Constitution: for the VP to succeed the president if need be. In all my learnings about checks and balances, the legislative and judicial branch are supposed to be the check against excessive authority by the executive branch. If the VP has such limited power anyway, we cannot depend on the VP to be a proper check on the president. Likewise, if the VP has such limited power, it's not such a beefing-up of the executive branch either.

In the end, if the Congress has at least a 2/3 consensus, the president has no power over making something law or not. That's a lot of power to the legislative branch if you ask me

"As for your second part: Of course the people in power found it inconvenient to have the original system -- POLITICIANS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE "INCONVENIENCED" BY THE CONSTITUTION."

That's a good response to something I never said
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by C-Mach 7 years ago
C-Mach
I *FINALLY* confirmed my identity!
Posted by C-Mach 7 years ago
C-Mach
"'As for your second part: Of course the people in power found it inconvenient to have the original system -- POLITICIANS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE "INCONVENIENCED" BY THE CONSTITUTION.'

That's a good response to something I never said."

Well, actually, The_Silent_Consensus, clsmooth was referring to...

"The 12th Amendment didn't solidify the two-party system. It arose because of the two-party system. The founders didn't envision two parties becoming arch enemies when they wrote the Constitution (So no, I don't think it was their intention for the VP to undermine everything the president does.), and when it arose (See 1800 election. Jefferson and Burr were two Democratic-Republican candidates, and they received an equal amount of votes, and got the most. The tie went to the House, but the length of the battle aroused fear about no president being able to take office on inauguration day.) they realized a need for change."

Please pay special attention to "...the length of the battle aroused fear about no president being able to take office on inauguration day."

"Question on an unrelated issue: You're an atheist, yet you believe our rights are inherent. If you don't believe a Creator endowed us with rights, then where do our rights come from?"

"From nature. From the basis moral and ethical principle that you may not initiate force against another person."

Rights come from neither source: They are derived from the source of power and physical force (In the case of the United States of America, the general populace.). As Chairman Mao Zedong said: "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."

About the debate (Since I *DIDN'T CONFIRM MY IDENTITY*!), I have to agree with clsmooth, and his argument about why we should repeal the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Posted by clsmooth 8 years ago
clsmooth
Keep reading! I'd really like to recommend that you read Ron Paul's "Gold, Peace, and Prosperity" if you ever get a chance.
Posted by The_Silent_Consensus 8 years ago
The_Silent_Consensus
what B.S. indeed! As far as libertarianism and ideology, I consider myself a libertarian Democrat. Yes, it's hard to find someone with my personality who's a Democrat, but we're out there. I've read Ayn Rand stuff, and she's very eloquent and makes sense, but I don't agree with how extreme she takes it
Posted by clsmooth 8 years ago
clsmooth
By the way, I can't "confirm my identity" because I don't have a cell phone. What B.S.
Posted by clsmooth 8 years ago
clsmooth
You should read some hardcore libertarian literature, S_C. You have too logical of a mind to be anything but a libertarian!
Posted by clsmooth 8 years ago
clsmooth
From nature. From the basis moral and ethical principle that you may not initiate force against another person.
Posted by The_Silent_Consensus 8 years ago
The_Silent_Consensus
Question on an unrelated issue: You're an atheist, yet you believe our rights are inherent. If you don't believe a Creator endowed us with rights, then where do our rights come from?
Posted by The_Silent_Consensus 8 years ago
The_Silent_Consensus
Thank you for that clarification
Posted by clsmooth 8 years ago
clsmooth
I should note that I'm primarily opposing the 12th amendment on the grounds that I like the Original method for determining vice president -- the second-place finisher in the Electoral College.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by C-Mach 7 years ago
C-Mach
clsmoothThe_Silent_ConsensusTied
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Vote Placed by silveracer 8 years ago
silveracer
clsmoothThe_Silent_ConsensusTied
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Vote Placed by attrition 8 years ago
attrition
clsmoothThe_Silent_ConsensusTied
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Vote Placed by The_Silent_Consensus 8 years ago
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clsmoothThe_Silent_ConsensusTied
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