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Author Topic: order of succession loophole?  (Read 14794 times)
J. J.
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« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2009, 10:45:54 pm »
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So, assuming, that Representative Minnick of Idaho (just for example) is places as a designated survivor and he's only one left, he can elect himself as a Speaker and assume the Presidency, correct?

Possibly.  The controlling law is 3 USC Sec. 19.

If everyone on the succession list is wiped out, Minnick becomes President once he becomes Speaker.



It would not necessary be Minnick, or any other House Member.  There is no statutory or constitutional requirement that the Speaker be a member (or even a citizen).  Provided the person elected Speaker is a natural born citizen, over 35, and been a resident for 14 years, whomever the survivor Representative elects becomes speaker.

Consider these possibilities; Representative Jones is the survivor Representative, in all cases.

1.  Jones is old or has a serious illness; the strain of being president would kill him in three months.  Jones elects a popular capable Governor or Senator, who is eligible to be President, as Speaker.

2.  Everyone else is killed in an attack.  The National Security Adviser, not in line of succession, but eligible to be President, was out of town and survives.  Jones elects him because he can better do the job in a national emergency.

3.  The vacancies occur after a clear electoral victory for a presidential candidate (not in succession) but before the start of the term.  Jones elects the president elect (not in the line of succession) as Speaker.

4.  Jones simply knows that, while he might be a good Congressman, he'd be a lousy president.  Maybe he's gay and in the closet, and doesn't want it to come out.  Maybe he's having an affair with an Israeli woman and would see a national security issue if he were not just some minor Congressman from Butte, Montana.

5.  Maybe Jones is 32 years old, or was born in the UK and can be the Speaker, but not President.

Jones might be the kingmaker, but not the king.



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J. J.

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SirNick
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« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2009, 07:41:57 pm »
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If there was no cabinet in place yet, and the Pres, VP, Speaker and Pro-Tempore are killed, then then any remaining members of the House would get together, elect the Speaker who would become an interim President until the House appoints someone to finish the term...

In the case of Obama --regardless if he takes the oath, the constitution gives him power at 12:00pm on January 20th 2008.

If Obama, Bryd, Pelosi and Biden were killed minutes after then Robert Gates would  become President. He was kept away as the designated survivor and didn't need to be reconfirmed by the Senate.
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Mr. Morden
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« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2009, 06:48:32 am »
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If there was no cabinet in place yet, and the Pres, VP, Speaker and Pro-Tempore are killed, then then any remaining members of the House would get together, elect the Speaker who would become an interim President until the House appoints someone to finish the term...

In the case of Obama --regardless if he takes the oath, the constitution gives him power at 12:00pm on January 20th 2008.

If Obama, Bryd, Pelosi and Biden were killed minutes after then Robert Gates would  become President. He was kept away as the designated survivor and didn't need to be reconfirmed by the Senate.

As discussed here, the question is whether Rice is still SoS minutes after Obama is sworn in or not.  Does the Cabinet of the outgoing president automatically lose their jobs the second that the new president is sworn in, or are they legally still Cabinet secretaries until their replacements are sworn in?
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« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2009, 12:36:43 am »
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If there was no cabinet in place yet, and the Pres, VP, Speaker and Pro-Tempore are killed, then then any remaining members of the House would get together, elect the Speaker who would become an interim President until the House appoints someone to finish the term...

In the case of Obama --regardless if he takes the oath, the constitution gives him power at 12:00pm on January 20th 2008.

If Obama, Bryd, Pelosi and Biden were killed minutes after then Robert Gates would  become President. He was kept away as the designated survivor and didn't need to be reconfirmed by the Senate.

As discussed here, the question is whether Rice is still SoS minutes after Obama is sworn in or not.  Does the Cabinet of the outgoing president automatically lose their jobs the second that the new president is sworn in, or are they legally still Cabinet secretaries until their replacements are sworn in?


It is traditional in a change of administration for the outgoing cabinet to resign effective noon, January 20, unless as happened with Gates, the President plans to keep them on.  Thus Gates did not need to be reconfirmed.  That also was the case for William Joseph Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, who served as Acting Secretary of State for a day until Clinton was confirmed on the 21st. However, the succession law explicitly provides that acting secretaries are not in the order of succession.
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Mr. Morden
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« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2009, 07:55:37 am »
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OK, but it's only traditional and not legally required?  The outgoing Cabinet doesn't instantaneously lose their jobs at the stroke of noon on Jan. 20th if they haven't taken the active step to resign?

In that case, then I guess, yeah, if Rice hadn't resigned, then, had Obama, Biden, Pelosi, and Byrd all died minutes after noon on Jan. 20th....Rice would've still been SoS and thus the order of succession would have fallen to her her, and she'd take over as president.....even though she was appointed by a president of the other party, and was about to lose her job to Hillary Clinton.
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« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2010, 02:39:26 am »
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I expect that since Secretary Gates is currently scheduled to continue on as SoD in the Obama cabinet, he'll be the designated survivor and will not show up at the inauguration.  Gates doesn't need to be reconfirmed, so he'll provide the necessary continuity of government.

In addition to that, there have been numerous examples of a cabinet Secretary staying in office a few days into the term of a new President until his nominated successor is confirmed.  Most often it's been the Secretary of State, although the ast time that happened for Secretary of State was in 1913 when Taft's Secretary of State Philander Chase Knox remained in office until March 5, 1913 when Wilson's SoS William Jennings Bryan was confirmed.  Indeed the Taft/Wilson transition appears to be the last time any of the cabinet chose to hang around an extra day or two with the succeeding president being of the opposite party (Taft's Secretary of the Treasury also stayed an extra day.)  However several of Reagan's Secretaries remained a few days until GHWB's nominees took office.

*BUMP*

I think this points the way to a solution to the original question.  The OP is suggesting there must be some strict, highly technical solution to the situation discussed.  The above history, however, suggests that the system is actually very flexible and adaptable.  So, a highly technical and legalistic view may be the wrong one.
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J. J.
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« Reply #31 on: August 29, 2010, 02:51:34 pm »
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I expect that since Secretary Gates is currently scheduled to continue on as SoD in the Obama cabinet, he'll be the designated survivor and will not show up at the inauguration.  Gates doesn't need to be reconfirmed, so he'll provide the necessary continuity of government.

In addition to that, there have been numerous examples of a cabinet Secretary staying in office a few days into the term of a new President until his nominated successor is confirmed.  Most often it's been the Secretary of State, although the ast time that happened for Secretary of State was in 1913 when Taft's Secretary of State Philander Chase Knox remained in office until March 5, 1913 when Wilson's SoS William Jennings Bryan was confirmed.  Indeed the Taft/Wilson transition appears to be the last time any of the cabinet chose to hang around an extra day or two with the succeeding president being of the opposite party (Taft's Secretary of the Treasury also stayed an extra day.)  However several of Reagan's Secretaries remained a few days until GHWB's nominees took office.

*BUMP*

I think this points the way to a solution to the original question.  The OP is suggesting there must be some strict, highly technical solution to the situation discussed.  The above history, however, suggests that the system is actually very flexible and adaptable.  So, a highly technical and legalistic view may be the wrong one.


Not really.

Some new presidents want a clean sweep, or at least want to put cabinet officers in different positions.

Supposed that Rice resigned "upon the confirmation of my successor."  1/20/09 at 12:38 PM, Obama, Biden, Pelosi and Byrd die.  Rice is POTUS until 1/20/13, even though she was part of an administration that was not re-elected.
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J. J.

"Actually, .. now that you mention it...." 
- Londo Molari

"Every government are parliaments of whores.
The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us." - P. J. O'Rourke

"Wa sala, wa lala."

(Zulu for, "You snooze, you lose.")
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