What is the Senate's impeachment power

Can the Vice President of the United States be fired?

Only Congress can forcibly remove a vice president from office

The US Constitution only allows the Vice President to be forcibly removed from office by impeachment for a high felony or misdemeanor (just like the President).

The president, vice president, and all civil servants of the United States will be removed from office for impeachment and conviction for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. (Article 2, paragraph 4)

Impeachment is the sole responsibility of Congress, so the president cannot unilaterally indict the vice-president or any other elected official of the federal government.

The House of Representatives selects its speaker and other officials; and has sole power of impeachment. (Article 1, Section 2)

The Senate has sole power to attempt any impeachment. (Article 1, paragraph 3)

In other words, the House of Representatives has authority to initiate impeachment and the Senate has authority to conduct impeachment. If the Senate decides to convict the elected official, they will be removed from office.


Note that the Vice President is also the President of the Senate (Article 1, Section 3). In this role, the vice president presides over any impeachment proceedings (e.g. for a senator) with the exception of the president, as the constitution states that the chief judge presides over the process.

Technically, this means that a vice president undergoing impeachment would preside over his own process. This could have happened to Spiro Agnew, Nixon's first vice president, charged with extortion, tax fraud, bribery and conspiracy. But instead of undergoing impeachment, he resigned in August 1973 (about a year before Nixon himself became involved in the Watergate scandal).

In addition, the Vice President always has the option to resign voluntarily. This happened twice: Spiro Agnew, as described above, and John C. Calhoun in 1832. Calhoun was Vice President under John Quincy Adams and later Andrew Jackson in his first term. Jackson and Calhoun disagreed on a number of points, but as shown above, Jackson would not have had the option of firing him if he wanted. Instead, Jackson chose Martin Van Buren as his companion for his second term (and the two were successfully elected). Calhoun stepped down as vice president to serve as Senator for South Carolina a few months before his tenure.

Phoog

It is common knowledge that members of Congress are not charged, so a Senator would never be charged. Each house can expel its own members without having to involve the other house.

Phoog

The article to which you refer comes to the conclusion that a vice-president was actually unable to chair his own process (see alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/…): "The textual argument is therefore hardly convincing. This weakness is fatal for the Vice President -Presides thesis, because the text argument is his only support. "