Have You Ever Wondered How Presidential Succession Works?

amadeustx / shutterstock.com
amadeustx / shutterstock.com

Technically, the American people do not choose their President. Instead, the Presidential election uses the Electoral College. According to the Constitution, the President is in office for four years and only holds office for a maximum of ten years. Some of the founding fathers supported electing the President through popular vote, but others opposed giving the people so much authority. A few others believed that Congress should select the President but were worried about the separation of powers. So they established a unique body of electors that the states would choose. This article discusses who takes over if the President of the United States is unable to serve, which contextually means Presidential Succession.

Greetings to the chief- US Presidency Explained
Since the start of the 20th century, the presidency has assumed a more significant role in American politics. The President is regarded as one of the world’s most powerful political figures in modern times. The President is also in charge of domestic policy-making. The Electoral College selects the President and Vice President for four-year terms. To hold the office of President one must be :
● A citizen of the United States by birth.
● Must be at least 35 years old.
● Be a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least 14 years.
Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is the current President of the United States who was sworn in on January 20, 2021.

Who will take over if the President is unable to perform his duties?
The Vice President is the second highest officer and succeeds the President in the case of the president’s death, resignation, or inability to discharge duties. However, the role of a Vice President is decided by the President. If the President chooses to delegate many responsibilities to him, the Vice President can have a significant amount of power. If the President frequently seeks advice, the Vice President wields real, albeit indirect, power. Because of this reliance on the President, it is extremely difficult for a Vice President to run for President. And only twice in American history did it happen. When the Vice Presidency becomes vacant, the President appoints a replacement and the majority of both houses of Congress must vote to confirm the candidate. Kamala Harris is the 49th and current Vice President of the United States.

The United States Presidential Line of Succession
A line of succession is an established order of people who, if necessary, will fill a pivotal role. In the case of the United States president, the line of succession determines who will take over as president if the elected president is unable to serve.

What Happens When The Vice President is not available?
If the Presidency is Vacated before an election the Vice President becomes President and then chooses a vice president who needs to be approved by both chambers of Congress. If there are any vacancies in either the Presidents or Vice Presidents positions due to the occurrence of death, resignation, dismissal, or otherwise at the same time then the Speaker of the House takes the Presidency. The President Pro Tempore of the Senate ascends to the position of Vice President. The Cabinet members then follow the sequence of their creation in the line of succession. Here is the list of people in line for the Presidency:
● The Vice President
● Speaker of the House
● 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
● Secretary of Homeland Security

Any person currently holding one of these offices who is ineligible to become president would be passed over.

Has this been altered before?

The succession line for the presidency has been altered four times and is as below :
● 1792
● 1886
● 1947
● 1967

The offices of the President and Vice President have never been vacant at the same time, so the United States has never had to go further down the line of Succession.