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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Presidential Succession

In the 116th Congress, a Democrat will be speaker of the House, and 85-year-old Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) will be president pro tem of the Senate.

Last year, Whet Smith and Mark J. Rozell wrote at The Hill:
One simple change Congress should make is to revisit the Presidential Succession Act. Currently, the next two figures in line to fill a presidential vacancy are the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate. This is decidedly less than ideal.

First, a member of Congress derives his or her authority from a regional mandate. Second, it creates major separation of powers issues. Third, it overturns a national electoral mandate if the House speaker is from the opposition party. Fourth, the president pro tempore in the modern era is selected essentially for being elderly, which is not a great characteristic for an emergency replacement.