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Old 11-08-2019, 08:16 AM
gdave is offline
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 273
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
But in the hypothetical given by the OP, there is no Vice-President, because the SecState is next in line. The Veep, Speaker and President pro tem are all either MIA or dead for the SecState to be acting President, during the "inability" of the Prez to act.

Since there's no Veep, the 25th can't be invoked. The vacancy would be temporarily filled by the SecState under the Presidential Succession Act.
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Getting back to the OP's actual question, Article I, Section 1, Clause 6 provides that if both the presidency and vice-president are unable to act, the officer designated by Congress "shall act as President" until the disability is removed or a President is elected.

So that sounds like the SecState in this hypothetical can carry out all the functions of the President, but only until the Prez or Veep turns up/recovers from coma/finished hiking the Appalachian trail, or there's a new president elected.
Northern Piper is right, of course, the 25th Amendment is actually irrelevant if it's the Secretary of State, not the VP, taking over. Still, the situation is basically the same. The Secretary of State would become "Acting President", with all of the powers and authority of the President, unless and until the President returns.

Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
Great, thanks.

As an aside (and a different question from the OP really) can the original president, once resuming powers, undo something like a pardon by the acting president? I am guessing most other things like executive orders and troop movements can be reversed...political ramifications of such things would probably take longer.
U.S. law and the U.S. Constitution absolutely do not care about the specific personal identity of the President, only about the powers and duties of the office. A returning President can, or cannot, overturn any official acts made by an Acting President in exactly the same way he can, or cannot, overturn any official acts made by a previous President. Or, for that matter, in exactly the same way he can, or cannot, overturn any previous official acts he himself made.

Pardons cannot be undone. That's the entire point of a pardon. Troop movements could be reversed with a phone call, although of course the physical logistics would complicate things. Executive Orders fall somewhere in between. In general, a President can revoke or cancel any Executive Order he wants to, but the courts sometimes get involved in blocking alterations to Executive Orders, particularly where they may amount to arbitrary or capricious uses of executive authority to the detriment of specific individuals or entities. And so on.