Can an impeached President run for a second term?

  • Suppose Congress successfully impeaches and removes a sitting President of the USA. Can this person still run for a second term?

    Assuming the usual rules about term limits are observed, of course.

    At the very least, once impeached and removed from office, it wouldn't be "re-election" as much as "election for a second time, with an intervening term"

    I believe Congress would determine the length of any ban from public office on a case by case basis.

    @ColinZwanziger If you quote an article from the Constitution to back up the claim that Congress can do that, I think you've the core of an answer.

    @abelenky Re-election as in "winning two elections in a row." Besides, no matter how it's called by lawyers, I think the purpose of my question is clear.

    I commented since I'm unsure.

    @ColinZwanziger Then let's hope someone else knows the answer.

    @Sjoerd, most election laws I'm familiar with (which vary state-by-state) specifically prohibit someone who is not in office (has been impeached) to campaign for "Re-election". (see, section search for "Re-Elect")

    @abelenky what does re-election mean if not "election for a second time"?

    Re-election means "elected again, to continue the previous term". Being elected, ousted, and elected again is *not* re-election. Jerry Brown was Governor of California from 1975 to 1983. He was elected Governor of California again in 2011 after a 27 year gap. That was not a re-election.

    @abelenky Apart from lawyers, everyone seems to understand what I mean. Nevertheless, I've reworded the question to avoid this kind of discussion.

    @abelenky The link you included simply defines what constitutes a 're-election' campaign (i.e. someone who currently holds the office vs. has held the office in the past) for purposes of campaign advertising requirements, and doesn't discuss who is legally eligible to run. As I noted below, there's no law precluding a President who has been impeached and/or removed from office from running again.

  • BradC

    BradC Correct answer

    4 years ago

    Answer: During an impeachment trial, the Senate can "disqualify" an officeholder from holding any public office again, but that is a separate vote from their "removal".

    Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7 of the Constitution says (emphasis mine):

    Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

    At first glace I assumed this meant that someone who is removed by impeachment is therefore automatically disqualified from holding office, but case law shows this is not how that has been interpreted:

    Since ratification, four troublesome questions have arisen under this clause. The first was whether the Senate may impose the sanctions of removal and disqualification separately and, if so, how. The Senate claims that it may impose these sanctions by separate votes: (1) removal, involving the ouster of an official from the office he occupies at the time of his impeachment trial, and (2) disqualification barring the person from ever serving again in the federal government. In 1862 and 1913, the Senate took separate votes to remove and disqualify judges West Humphreys and Robert Archbald, respectively. For each judge, a supermajority first voted to convict followed by a simple majority vote to disqualify. The Senate defended this practice on the ground that the clause mentioning disqualification does not specify the requisite vote for its imposition, although Article II, Section 4, mentions removal as following conviction. The Senate in 1862 and 1913 considered that the supermajority requirement was designed as a safeguard against removal that, once satisfied, did not extend to the separate imposition of disqualification.

    So the Senate has the power to vote separately on removal (by supermajority) and/or disqualification (by simple majority), but the one does not imply the other.

    You can see this in the current US Senate overview of the impeachment process (PDF):

    The Senate may subsequently vote on whether the impeached official shall be disqualified from again holding an office of public trust under the United States. If this option is pursued, a simple majority vote is required.

    So yes, an impeached and removed President could still run for office, unless he or she was also explicitly disqualified by the Senate (or was ineligible for other reasons, like term limit exclusions).

    EDIT: To be clear, you can be removed without being disqualified, but you can't be disqualified without being convicted/removed.


    Following the Vote on Each Article, the Presiding Officer Pronounces the Decision. Once the Judgment of the Senate has Been Pronounced on the Articles of Impeachment, the Trial Might Progress in Two Ways. If the Respondent Was Found Not Guilty on All Charges, the Verdict of Acquittal Was Announced and the Senate Sitting as a Court of Impeachment Adjourned Sine Die. If the Respondent Was Found Guilty of Any of the Charges, the Judgment of Removal and Possible Disqualification From Ever Holding an Office of Trust or Profit Under the United States Was Presented

    Is the POTUS an "Office of honor, Trust or Profit?" It's an elected position, not a nominated position. The case laws seem to be about Judges, which are not elected.

    Good question, but the emoluments clause in Article 1, Section 9 uses very similar phrasing: "no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust...", and seems to apply to the President. I'm going to say POTUS is an "office of Trust", and appointed positions (cabinet positions) are "office of Profit". I'll see if I can find a better reference.

    @Sjoerd honor, trust, and profit say nothing about how the office was attained. Yes, the presidency is such an office. Brad: you're creating needless distinctions. All of those offices are offices of both trust (responsibility) and profit (salary), at least, and probably honor (you get a seal and a flag and a spot in the order of precedence, etc).

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM