Presidential Succession vs. Presidential Requirements

Should a President of the United States leave office before their term is over (death, impeachment, resign) the following people are in line to assume the vacancy in this order:
[li]The Vice President [/li][li]Speaker of the House [/li][li]President pro tempore of the Senate[/li][li]Secretary of State[/li][li]Secretary of the Treasury[/li][li]Secretary of Defense[/li][li]Attorney General[/li][li]Secretary of the Interior[/li][li]Secretary of Agriculture[/li][li]Secretary of Commerce[/li][li]Secretary of Labor[/li][li]Secretary of Health and Human Services[/li][li]Secretary of Housing and Urban Development[/li][li]Secretary of Transportation[/li][li]Secretary of Energy[/li][li]Secretary of Education[/li][li]Secretary of Veterans Affairs[/li][/ul]

In order to become President of the US you need to meet the following minimum requirements (I believe this also holds for the Vice President but I am unsure):
[li]You must be at least 35 years old. [/li][li]You must be a natural-born U.S. citizen.[/li][li]You must have lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years.[/li][/ul]

Do those requirements apply only to standing for election or do they hold for anyone filling the office of President? If the requirements stand for anyone who would fill the Presidency and someone on the list doesn’t meet that requirement then does the job devolve to the next in line or, if you are in the succession list for the Presidency, must you also meet the minimum requirements to be President?

From Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution:

So the answer to your question is yes. Since they are eligibility requirements for the office and not for the election, you must meet the requirements even to succeed to the office.

There have been at least two Secretaries of State who were not born in the U.S. (Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright). Neither was eligible to assume the Presidency. If, under some bizarre circumstances, everyone ahead of them had been killed, the next person in line would have been the Treasury Secretary.

You can’t become President, by election OR by succession, if you don’t meet the Constitutional requirements.

Gee, this is another opportunity to drop in a little factoid that I recently posted in GD: Throughout history, many people within the line of succession have failed to meet the natural-born requirement, but only one has failed to meet the age requirement, and it wasn’t a Cabinet member. Henry Clay was elected Speaker of the House at the tender age of 34 in 1811.

<small hijack>
Since Bill Clinton has hinted about changing the constitution so that someone (he’s not naming any name, but we all know he talking about himself) could run for more terms if they were not concecutive.

What Bill could do is run as VP for another canidate, and potentially grab a few more years.

The questions is: how many years? Seems like 14-8= 6.

However, during any 6 year span, there would be at least one election, and Bill couldn’t run in that election (could he?)
</small hijack>

No. The 22nd Amendment clearly stipulates that no one may be elected president more than twice, while allowing for the possibility of serving (fractionally) more than two terms (as would have been the case had Johnson run in 1968).

Hello, all! ^-^ new person

Actually, beyond the vice-president, I don’t belive there is a set hierarchy of presidential inheritance. IIRC, the Constitution states something to the order of “if the Vice-President is also unable to assume the duties of President, Congress shall make a law saying who goes next”, but I don’t think Congress ever made that law.

Of course, I could be totally, horribly off-base about this, and the above list could be contained in just such a law, which has been on the books over a century. ^-^v

Andrew “NO .SIG MAN” “Juan” Perron, embarassingu!

Yes indeed, you are totally, horribly off-base :smiley:
The list mentioned upthread is taken from the offical presidential succession act. IIRC, it says that the Speaker, then the President-Pro-Tempore will become the president, should everyone above them get bumped off. It things go beyond them (which I’m guessing would probably involve a nuclear bomb or some other WMD), then they go thru the cabinet in the order that the position was created. Secretary of State is the oldest cabinet position, so it goes first. Homeland Security is the youngest, and should go last, tho there is talk of ammending the the succesion act to put it somewhere up there with State and Defense.

I’ve heard that any cabinet secretery who assumes the presidency would only become the acting president, and her/she would have to relinquish the presidency as soon as a new congress is convened and elects a new Speaker of the House. I might be wrong about that bit, tho.

Welcome to the boards, you are horribly off-base. (insert smiley here)

Presidential Succession Act of 1792, revised by Congress in 1886, then again by Truman in 1947.

Damn. Two typos in one post. I must remember not to post following consumption of alcohol :o

Ah, two centuries. Even better. ^-^

What I was probably thinking of was this: (from that link)

“Prior to the ratification of the 25th Amendment in 1967, there was no provision for filling a vacancy in the vice presidency.”

Andrew “NO .SIG MAN” “Juan” Perron, I guess it wouldn’t make sense for them not to make such a law…

Around the end of Nixon’s term, there was a comic in the National Lampoon about the Secretary of Transportation (14 heartbeats away from the presidency!) scheming to eliminate everyone ahead of him in the succession.

so if none of those are able to fullfill their term does miss congeniality get to be president?

If no one on the list qualifies for some reason then we are in the midst of a full blown crisis.

I believe that it falls to Congress to determine who gets the gig.

In practical terms, the current order of succession, should GEorge W, Bush die, is:

  1. Dick Cheney

  2. Dennis Hastert

  3. Senator Ted Stevens (the title Senate President pro tempore traditionally goes to the senior Senator from the majority party- until recently, believe it or not, that meant Strom Thurmond was third in line for the Presidency!) of Alaska

  4. Colin Powell

  5. John Snow

  6. Donald Rumsfeld