The Law: The Executive Office of the Vice President: Constitutional and Legal Considerations


Harold C. Relyea was a specialist in American National Government with the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, where he held both managerial and research positions. The views expressed here are personal, not institutional.


As chartered by the U.S. Constitution, the office of the vice president of the United States had nebulous legal and institutional status, and was otherwise largely unappreciated and underutilized for approximately 150 years. Innovative presidents, responding to changing circumstances regarding the role and mission of the federal government, both domestically and internationally, created new roles for the vice president during the early years of the twentieth century. Among these were admission to the cabinet, membership on temporary advisory committees, and special roles in service to the president, resulting in the institutionalization of the Executive Office of the Vice President, which came to be redefined under Richard B. Cheney.