Monday, October 26, 2009

In case of death, resignation, or inability

Thanks to Article II of the Constitution, somewhat modified by the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, we Americans have orderly transition if the President dies or is incapacitated. The Vice President would in that instance take over the Oval Office. The Constitution also mandates that Congress legislate who is next in line if the Vice President also dies or suffers some incurable dementia. And that Congress did, with the currently line of succession specified in the United States Code, 3USC19 (2007). After the Vice President, the Speaker of the House is next in line, with the President pro tempore of the Senate coming in after that. If we really have a run of bad luck, with our leaders dropping like the bad guys in Indiana Jones movies, the line of succession goes:

"Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Secretary of Homeland Security." 3USC19(d)(1).

It seems impressive that we've actually got it worked out to eighteen people in line for the presidency until you realize what the British have with their line of succession to the throne.

So if some vermin shoots President Obama, Joe Biden takes over. If he's rubbed out at the same time, we get our first woman President. Robert Byrd becomes commander in chief if Nancy Pelosi meets her maker in the same tragedy taking Obama and Biden. And then you have a bunch of men and women nominated by Obama and confirmed by a Senate where the Democrats have a majority.

Remember this when you read stupid comments like this one:

“The Republican Party is now a mentally ill group of people who want nothing more than to destroy Obama’s first term no matter how much the country needs his policies. I despise your party’s activities and the hatred you spew on Fox and other sounding boards for the insurance companies. Please don’t you dare get him killed, which is the underlying goal of you right wing nuts.”

An underlying goal to get Obama killed? One would think a reporter would know better. Apparently John Guerra thinks the definition of a right-winger is somebody who wants Joe Biden to be President.