Thursday, 5 July 2007

Which branch of Government does the Vice President belong to?

The Vice President is elected at the same time as the President (US Constitution Art II). He has an office in the West Wing and a set of offices in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB). In the event of the death or incapacity of the President he would assume the powers of the President, he is also the President of the Senate. So, in a system based on separation of powers, to which branch does he belong?

Just a trivia question suitable for a pub quiz? No longer. The Vice President appears to be arguing that he does not have to comply with an executive order on classified information because he is not in the Executive branch.

He gets his pay check from the Senate.

There is a certain irony in Cheney's argument - he has regularly claimed executive privilege. He has also been reported as making the following remarks:

April 9th 2003, to the American Society of Newspaper Editors he spoke of "the legitimate authority of the executive branch, the President and the Vice-President"

April 14th 2004, to students in China, he explained that it was President Eisenhower who first gave the vice president an "office in the executive branch"