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Presidential Succession and the 25th Amendment

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1 Presidential Succession and the 25th Amendment
8 Presidents have died in office (4 by natural causes) Pres Harrison served for only 31 days… William Henry Harrison was President for only one month. He died of pneumonia in March 1841, just weeks after his inauguration. He had ridden on horseback up Pennsylvania Ave. in bitterly cold weather to take his oath of office and his speech had over 8400 words in it! Harrison was the first President to die in office; his Vice President, John Tyler, was the first to succeed to the presidency.

2 Presidential Succession Act of 1947
The original Act of Succession (1792) had placed the Senate president pro tempore and Speaker of the House in the line of succession, but in 1886 Congress had removed them and replaced them with the Cabinet by order of entry.  Death of FDR (1945) propelled VP Truman into the presidency and he urged placing the Speaker, as the chosen leader of the “elected representatives of the people,” next in line to the Vice President. The 1947 law reinserted those officials and placed the Speaker ahead of the Senate president pro tempore.


4 25th Amendment -designed after JFK’s 1963 assassination and was ratified in 1967 -explains the procedures for transferring power from the President to the VP when incapacitation occurs -explains the procedures for replacing the Vice President when it becomes vacant

5 25th and Incapacitation If the President becomes unable to carry out the responsibilities of the office and is aware of the incapacitation, the Pres must inform Congress in writing and then can transfer the power to the Vice President as “Acting President”. When recovered, the President must in writing again inform the Congress that he/she is ready to assume office again. 2002- Pres. George W. Bush 1985- Pres. Ronald Reagan (medical reasons)

6 25th and Incapacitation Several Presidents were unable to carry out the duties of the office due to disability/incapacitation: Pres James Garfield lingered between life and death for 80 days after he was shot in 1881 Pres Woodrow Wilson had a stroke in 1919 and for over 4 months could not perform his duties Pres Dwight Eisenhower had a heart attack which disabled him for almost a week in 1955

7 25th and Incapacitation If the President is unable to inform Congress (i.e.,unconscious), then a majority of the Cabinet and the Vice President in writing must inform the Congress of the transfer of power. -when the President recovers, then he/she must inform Congress in writing that the power be transferred back. -this part of the 25th has never been used.

8 25th and VP replacement -if the Vice Presidency becomes vacant then the President may nominate a V.P. to both chambers of Congress and a majority vote is needed to swear in the V.P. VP Spiro Agnew resigns and Pres. Richard Nixon nominates Gerald Ford to Congress as the next VP. -1974-After Pres Nixon resigns and VP Ford becomes President, Ford nominates Nelson Rockefeller for VP to Congress.

9 Vice President Constitution gives VP 2 duties:
Presides over the Senate and votes in case of a tie, Under the 25th amendment, helps to decide if a Prez is disabled and cannot carry out the job. President’s decide how involved they want their VP’s to be in the administration. Recent Veeps have been involved in diplomatic activities overseas and have been a part of the National Security Council.

10 Vice President Has an office in the West Wing of the White House, as well as in the nearby Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Like the President, he also maintains an official residence, at the United States Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington, D.C. This mansion, has been the official home of the Vice President since 1974 — previously, Vice Presidents had lived in their own private residences. Has own limousine, operated by the Secret Service and flies on the same aircraft the President uses — but when the Veep is aboard, the air craft is referred to as Air Force Two and Marine Two

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