Expert Pitch

Can Obama become Biden's VP? "It's complicated," says Brian Kalt, law professor, Michigan State University and constitutional law expert.

Michigan State University
11-Mar-2020 2:25 PM EDT, by Michigan State University

Speculation is rampant, and just about every pundit with an opinion is drawing up a list of who should be in, who should be out and what the best team to take on President Donald Trump needs to look like.

But there’s one proven duo that’s already battle-tested and unbeaten - Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Or in this case, it would be Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

This idea is making the rounds. And it’s not just about if Barack Obama would want back in the game, but could he?

“It’s complicated," says Brian Kalt, professor of law at Michigan State University.“The precise wording and drafting history of the 22nd amendment of the Constitution does allow for the possibility, but the spirit and the popular understanding of 22A doesn't.

"Because of the latter, and because there are so many other people Biden could pick, picking Obama would be a needless political risk—it would turn off voters who don’t think this can be done, as well as those who think that, regardless of whether it can be done, it 'shouldn’t' be done. It would also embroil the campaign in distracting litigation."

So, according to our expert, the pain and courts costs isn’t worth the effort.

Though, there’s nothing preventing Michelle Obama from being on the ticket. In fact, online betting markets are starting to place odds – and when there’s money, there’s always a chance.

Brian Kalt is a Professor of Law and a Harold Norris Faculty Scholar at Michigan State University. He is an expert in constitutional law of the presidency, and he’s available to speak with media regarding the idea of another Obama-Biden ticket and any other aspects of how the Constitution and laws play a role in elections. 

Please contact Kim Ward, MSU Public Relations, for an interview with Kalt, [email protected]

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