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Authors

James D. Myers

Document Type

Notes

Abstract

The vice presidency of Dick Cheney from 2000 to 2008 raised complicated questions about the constitutional and legal position of the Vice President, including the Vice President's amenability to civil suits for damages. The U.S. Supreme Court's executive immunity jurisprudence has established that the President can claim absolute immunity for official acts, while cabinet members and presidential aides can assert only qualified immunity. No court has ever determined if the Vice President should be granted absolute or qualified immunity in civil suits for damages. Acknowledging that the vice presidency is an increasingly important political office, this Note argues that neither the Vice President's constitutional status nor his specific functions justify a grant of absolute immunity, This Note asserts that although the Vice President could claim some limited form of legislative immunity, qualified immunity is the appropriate standard in most suits for damages. This Note contends that qualified immunity for the Vice President would both preserve the effective functioning of the executive branch and ensure that the Vice President is legally accountable for an abuse of power.

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