What the Constitution really says about removal from office

How much does the text of the written Constitution matter, especially, at the level of individual words and even punctuation marks?

There are certainly limits to what one can glean from the punctuation of 18th-century English texts, replete as they are with what the lexicographer Eric Partridge referred to as “ornamental” semicolons and slapdash broken appositives. As some legal wags pointed out years ago, if one were to interpret the presidential eligibility clause in Article II (“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President”) according to the norms of English usage, with the second comma establishing that “at the time” restricts both of the previous clauses, no one who was not alive during the ratification would be allowed to hold the office.



Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button