John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Bill Clinton for President?

At work earlier today, my colleague JL and I were discussing Richard Cohen's suggestion that Al Gore be made Secretary of State. We had about exhausted the topic when suddenly an interesting thought occurred to me. Under normal circumstances, the Secretary of State is fourth in the line of succession. The Presidential Succession Act, however, applies "only to such officers as are eligible to the office of President under the Constitution." So if the Secretary of State was born in another country (like Henry Kissinger, a naturalized American born in Germany), the Secretary of State would be dropped from the list and the Secretary of the Treasury would be fourth in line. (There are, incidentally, two current Cabinet secretaries who are not part of the line of succession: Carlos Gutierrez, born in Cuba; and Elaine Chao, born in Taiwan.)

So here's the interesting thought: If Obama named Bill Clinton to his Cabinet, would Clinton be eligible to become President under the terms of the Presidential Succession Act? Answer: Yes, he would. Clinton is prohibited by the 22nd Amendment from being elected President a third time, but that doesn't prevent him from assuming the office should be be called upon to do so. He just couldn't run for election at the end of his term as Acting President.

And yes, I'm aware that I some of the things I find interesting are not. Deal with it.

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