Constitutional requirement for US born President and Presidential Succession Act.

The order of succession to the Office of President is:

Vice President
Speaker of the House
President Pro Tem of the Senate

There is no requirement that any of the office holders below VP be native born US citizens.

So what happens if the Speaker is called upon and happens to be a naturalized citizen? The Act makes him or her President but the Constitution denies that.

(I searched for the actual Act to see if the cited possibility was accounted for but couldn’t find it for some reason. There are those who would claim a manifest search ineptitude but I don’t like that answer.)

Yes, there is.

The provisions governing succesion to the presidency are set out in Title 3, § 19 of the United States Code: “Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act.”

Sub-sections (a), (b) and (d) of § 19 set out the succession through the Speaker, president pro tem, and Cabinet secretaries. Sub-section (e) then provides:

So if the holder of one of those offices is not eligible to become President (e.g. - Kissinger, Allbright), they would be skipped over by the terms of the statute.

Thanks. That’s what I wanted to know. I.e., was this taken care of in the Act, and it was.

Y’er welcome.

This was something that came up as one of those “What if…?” scenarios during the 2000 Election mess. If the Florida vote was thrown out and the House was unable to choose a President by Inaguration Day, the new Prez would be Dennis Hastert, Speaker OTH. Except…he’d already stated publicly that he didn’t want to be President. So that would leave Strom Thurmond. Except…he was 1,427 years old, and also unlikely to serve. So that would leave Madeleine Albright. Except…she wasn’t born in the U.S., and can’t serve. So that would leave…

Secretary of the Treasury at the time, Lawrence Summers.

A better question is whether or not if you are in the line of succession if you can refuse to become President.

Well, you could become President and then immediately resign.

But I don’t think either Denny or Strom would have given up the chance.

Practically speaking, no, Hastert would succumb to the pressure and take office.

Technically speaking, nobody’s holding a gun to his head, forcing him to take the oath of office. Although it’s not clear to me what the official procedure would be for taking a pass on this responsibility.

It is my understanding that Senator Orin Hatch has authored a constitutional ammendment to remove the requirement of “Natural Born Citizen” and make those who have been naturalized citizens for at least twenty years eligible to hold the office of President. Anybody want to guess how long ago Arnold became a naturalized citizen? :frowning:

Orin Hatch and Arnold don’t exactly share a lot of political ideas.

This is an item that comes up from time to time, though, like that obnoxious flag burning amendment. The latest one I can fine is H.J. Res 67, which appears to have died in committee. It was introduced by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan and co-sponsored by Rep Brad Sherman of California.

Are you suggesting that Arnold (I won’t even attempt his last name) actually has a political idea of his own? If so, as a resident of the Golden State I would really be interested in any evidence you are willing to share.

Good point.

The Presidential Succession Act cited above, 3 USC 19, provides that for the Speaker or the President Pro Tem to serve as President, they must resign their posts. If either of those officers refused to resign, the succession would pass to the next eligible officer.

With regard to cabinet officers acting as President, the law provides that taking the oath of office constitutes resignation from their cabinet position. I suppose they could refuse to take the oath of office.

In a case of short-term disability of the President, there’s a good chance that the Speaker would not resign to preserve his political power in the House. The President Pro Tem is typically an honorary position given to an older Senator of long service, who might find service as acting President to be a worthwhile capstone to their career.

As to cabinet officers, they serve at the pleasure of the President, and if the serve briefly as acting President, they can be reappointed after the President’s return to service, so there is probably no reason for them not to serve.