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Presidential Succession

by John T. Marck

The XXV Amendment of the United States Constitution, Section 1 (Ratified February 10, 1967) provides that, "In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President."

Hopefully, the XXV Amendment will never need to be instituted. The last time this Amendment was attempted to be used was in 1981, when President Ronald Reagan was wounded in an assassination attempt in Washington, D.C. Fortunately, President Reagan was at no time incapacitated to the extent that he could not continue his duties. But, the then Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, took it upon himself to declare himself the acting President, until such time as President Reagan, so he thought, was able to continue. I suppose Secretary Haig had not familiarized himself with the XXV Amendment, but should he had, he would have known he was fourth in line.

Clearly, in the event that the President cannot continue to serve, per the conditions set forth in Section 1, the first order of succession goes to the Vice President, which in Reagan's case, would have been George Bush.

Following the Vice President, the order of succession is as follows:

Speaker of the House of Representatives

President pro tempore of the Senate

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

Copyright 1993-2022 by  John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author.