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MohamedChalid
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« on: January 29, 2016, 07:47:25 am »
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Does an acting president also complete the ongoing term?

I think of the following scenario: Something happens to the president and the vice president six months after taking office. So, three and a half years remain till the term is over. The Speaker now becomes acting president. Does he finish the ongoing term or not? Does he have to appoint a new Vice President, since he assumes all presidential powers and duties? If so, a new Vice President would usually assume the presidency immediately since there is no full, just an acting, president. Or remains that office also vacant? I assume you canít have a full Vice President (appointed and confirmed by congress), serving under an acting president. And an acting VP doesnít exist according to Wikipedia.
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2016, 11:24:37 am »
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I suppose it depends on the meaning of "shall" in the second section of the 25th Amendment:

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Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Would an acting president be violating the Constitution by simply refusing to nominate a vice president?
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Clarko95
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2016, 01:10:20 pm »
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I suppose it depends on the meaning of "shall" in the second section of the 25th Amendment:

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Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Would an acting president be violating the Constitution by simply refusing to nominate a vice president?

There is no Constitutional requirement to actually fill the position between elections, AFAIK. LBJ did not have a Vice President between JFK's assasination and January 20th, 1965 when The Hump was sworn in.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 01:24:45 pm by Clarko95 »Logged

President Johnson
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2016, 03:13:36 pm »
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I suppose it depends on the meaning of "shall" in the second section of the 25th Amendment:

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Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Would an acting president be violating the Constitution by simply refusing to nominate a vice president?

There is no Constitutional requirement to actually fill the position between elections, AFAIK. LBJ did not have a Vice President between JFK's assasination and January 20th, 1965 when The Hump was sworn in.

That was before the 25th amendment, which was enacted in 1967. LBJ could not appoint a Vice President (like others before him, Truman or Teddy as an example). Nixon was able to appoint Ford since Agnew resigned, because the amendment had been the law of the land in 1974, but not in 1963.

I think that the acting president could appoint a new Vice President, who would become president immediately after taking office. Acting president (or anything else, like acting governor) means, that the office itsself is vacant. The acting president is not holding the office, he or she only fullfills the duties of the post like signing bills into law. That's my personal interpretation.

Though it is a very intersting question, I suppose that matter had to be decided by the courts if we find ourselves in such a scenario. The difficulty to answer this is, that the line of succession existed before the 25th amendment, which allows the president to appoint a VP. Before 1967, this was not possible. Had LBJ died a few weeks into his term, House Speaker William McCormack would have become acting president until Jan. 20, 1965. However, such a case almost happend a few times (in 1868, when Andrew Johnson's impeachment failed by a single vote or Chester Arthur just died a few months after he left office; both times there was no Vice President). However (or ironically), the 25th amendment makes it less likely that any other person like the Vice President assumes the presidency.
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2016, 03:17:58 pm »
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I believe the US Code makes clear that if, the Speaker or President Pro Tempore of the Senate becomes Acting President and appoints a Vice President, that the Vice President would immediately become President. It also makes clear that if the line of succession descends into the cabinet, and then later a Speaker or President Pro Tempore of the Senate should qualify, then the Speaker or PPT would supplant the cabinet member as Acting President.
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SteveRogers
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2016, 07:42:08 pm »
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I don't think it is at all clear from the text of the Presidential Succession Act that an Acting President would be bumped out of office by a newly-appointed Vice President. Quite the contrary actually:

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a)
(1) If, by reason of death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, there is neither a President nor Vice President to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall, upon his resignation as Speaker and as Representative in Congress, act as President.
(2) The same rule shall apply in the case of the death, resignation, removal from office, or inability of an individual acting as President under this subsection.
(b)
If, at the time when under subsection (a) of this section a Speaker is to begin the discharge of the powers and duties of the office of President, there is no Speaker, or the Speaker fails to qualify as Acting President, then the President pro tempore of the Senate shall, upon his resignation as President pro tempore and as Senator, act as President.
(c)
An individual acting as President under subsection (a) or subsection (b) of this section shall continue to act until the expiration of the then current Presidential term, except that Ė
(1) if his discharge of the powers and duties of the office is founded in whole or in part on the failure of both the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect to qualify, then he shall act only until a President or Vice President qualifies; and
(2) if his discharge of the powers and duties of the office is founded in whole or in part on the inability of the President or Vice President, then he shall act only until the removal of the disability of one of such individuals.

So if the Speaker becomes Acting President because of a deadlocked election, then they would get bumped out once the Senate chooses a new Vice President. But if the Speaker becomes Acting President because the President and Vice President are dead, then the act says they're supposed to finish out the term.

Now, as for the Constitutional authority for the Succession Act,

Article II, Section 1, Clause 6:
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In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

So again, it looks like the Acting President is intended to fill out the term. (This raises a question as to whether the provision in the Succession Act for a Speaker to bump a cabinet member out of the presidency is unconstitutional, but that's a whole other issue). I understand there's an argument that this is superseded by the 25th Amendment, but I really don't see how that could have been the intent of the 25th Amendment. The office of the presidency wouldn't be vacant, and it doesn't really make any sense that the Vice President would have a superior claim to the White House than the Acting President that appointed them in the first place.
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Figs
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2016, 09:02:07 pm »
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You're right, I had misread section (c)(1), thinking "qualifies" would apply to a Cice President appointed by the Acting President.

Isn't the office of the presidency technically vacant while there is an acting president due to the death of the president, though? If not, then why does the acting president never get to assume the actual title? Perhaps that's just semantics, but I can't help but think that the distinction matters.
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SteveRogers
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2016, 04:39:18 am »
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Oh god, this thread reminded me that I still need to finish my timeline.
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