Yes, it is possible for a sitting vice president to be nominated to the Supreme Court

Rumors began trending that Biden would nominate Harris to the Supreme Court after CNN published a report about tension in the White House.
Credit: AP
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris arrives in Singapore Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP)

In the days after CNN published a report about Vice President Kamala Harris’s performance in the White House, rumors trended online based on one paragraph in the article.

“Defenders and people who care for Harris are getting frantic. When they're annoyed, some pass around a recent Onion story mocking her lack of more substantive work, one with the headline, ‘White House Urges Kamala Harris To Sit At Computer All Day In Case Emails Come Through.’ When they're depressed, they bat down the Aaron Sorkin-style rumor that Biden might try to replace her by nominating her to a Supreme Court vacancy. That chatter has already reached top levels of the Biden orbit, according to one person who's heard it,” the article said.

Using CrowdTangle, a public insights tool owned by Facebook, VERIFY found thousands of mentions of Harris and “Supreme Court” across Facebook and Twitter. 

That prompted the VERIFY team to ask our sources if that’s possible.

THE QUESTION

Is it possible for a sitting vice president to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, it is possible, two law professors told VERIFY. But there hasn’t been a sitting or former vice president who has been nominated to the Supreme Court in U.S. history.

WHAT WE FOUND

Even though Kamala Harris is vice president, she could still be a potential Supreme Court nominee, experts tell VERIFY. 

There are very few restrictions on who can become a Supreme Court justice.

The Constitution lists no age or citizenship restrictions, and you don’t even have to practice law or have a law degree. The only restriction for being nominated to the Supreme Court is an impeachment and conviction that bars you from any federal office.

In an email to VERIFY, Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, said, "I do not see any impediment to a sitting vice president being nominated for the Supreme Court."

Geoffrey Stone, law professor at the University of Chicago, added that if a sitting vice president were confirmed to the Supreme Court they would have to resign as vice president. 

Section 2 of the 25th Amendment states if there is a vacancy in the office of the vice president, the president would nominate a new vice president, who then would take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

According to records from the U.S. House and Senate, neither a sitting vice president nor a past vice president has been nominated to the Supreme Court. 

Only one former president has been nominated to the Supreme Court. That was William Taft in 1921. John Quincy Adams was nominated before he was elected president and declined the appointment.

So we can verify, yes, it is possible for a sitting vice president to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

More from VERIFY: No, the House of Representatives does not have a filibuster

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