Presidential Appointee

What if (Ominous Music)
A president were to appoint to his cabinet, a person who would not qualify for the presidency; For example, Kissinger as Sec. of State*. Thereafter, the President, VP, Speaker of the House and President Pro-tempore were all to meet with an unfortunate end. Could Kissinger (or other constitutionally unqualified persons) take the office? Has this been worked out in advance, or would the USSC have to make up a solution on the fly?


*Remebering Kissinger, appointed Sec. of State in 1973, was born in Fuerth, Germany.

Someone who is not qualified to be President would simply be skipped in the order of succession. This is frequently discussed in the news and such, so this is not remotely something new or surprising. Excuse me, but you are a graduate of an American high school, right? Isn’t this taught there?

You don’t have to go back that far. Madeline Albright is not a natural-born citizen of the U.S., since she was born in Czechoslovakia of non-American parents. The constitution would clearly exclude Albright and Kissinger. Article II, section 1: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”

This is as good a place as any to note that you don’t have to be born in the United States to be a natural-born citizen. If one or both of your parents is American, you are a natural-born U.S. citizen no matter where you are born.

Hey Biblio…

Let me get this right… If my mother is a US citizen, my dad a British citizen, I was born in the UK and have always lived in the UK (hence not kowing Constitutional law etc) but have alwys held a US passport, I could… (notice could not would, seeing as I have no political persuasion) run for President?

Wish I’d known that years ago, I might have beaten both Gore and Bush last month… President Mel… I was alwys led to believe I could have ANY job in the States except that one.

Sorry to disagree here, but a friend of mine was born in Germany. Her father was in the military, both he and her mother are US citizens. She is (according to her) a naturalized citizen, has the papers to prove it.

It holds true the other way, too. Any person born in the US is a US citizen, regardless of the citizenship of the parents.

The full quote from the Constitution should clarify that point:

(Bolding mine)

Thanks for the answers, they were great. And to answer your question, yes I did go to an American High School (and an American college), and no, the finer points of order of sucession were not covered. Thanks again.

It depends… are you also a British subject (do you or can you hold a British passport)? If so, you possibly (probably) couldn’t be President or Sec. of State, or hold any other sensitive post without relinquishing your dual-citizenship.

But otherwise, you are a “natural-born” US citizen, and, if you are over 35 years old, could be President.

Thanks TX,

I never held a British Passport. I guess it was a thing at school, I wanted to have some kind of individuality, and that seemed the way of least effort.

Quoting WATERJ2 though, he put a quote regarding 35 years AND resident for 14 years, so does that mean I have to be resident for 14 years by time I reach 35? Or can I get away with moving to Boston now then waiting 14 years? If so, I’m sure I can’t be any worse than young Mr Bush… Any endorsements welcome…

(I guess you can tell I’m a newbie… not got the hang of inserting quotes etc yet…)

No need for the 14 years to come before age 35, and by the phrasing, no need for it to be immediately before assuming the Presidency or continous (any SC rulings on this?).

Her parents must have failed, for some reason, to file a consular report of birth of a U.S. citizen abroad. This is what most American citizen parents do when they have children overseas. If the birth is registered, the person is not only a citizen, but a natural born (not naturalized) citizen and eligible to serve as pres.

No need to involve the Supreme Court. The precedent was set by the election of 1928. Herbert Hoover was born in the U.S. and had been a resident of the U.S. for more than 14 years in total, but not for all the 14 years immediately preceeding the election. He moved around a lot, living in China, Australia, Britain, and Belgium.

As for children of U.S. citizens being themselves U.S. citizens, the situation is a little more complicated than I remembered. As of the late 1970s or early 1980s, in order to guarantee that the citizenship can’t be revoked, you had to live 5 years in the U.S. between the ages of 14 and 28. I don’t think that citizenship is automatically revoked if you don’t live here those five years (but I could be wrong). The exact number of years of required residency, and the ages, are subject to change, so they might not be the same now. Citizen by parentage (jus sanguinis) is not enshrined in the constitution the way citizenship by native birth (jus soli) is, so Congress can change the rules.