Weird election scenarios (President Thurmond etc.)
katkink at NKU.EDU
Wed Nov 8 18:04:39 PST 2000
Last week in "Slate," Prof. Akhil Amar examined the "President Thurmond"
scenario that could result from an electoral college deadlock. He noted that
3 U.S.C. sec 19 is probably unconstitutional because "Only 'officers of the
United States' may be picked as presidential successors, and Senators and
Representatives are not such officers, properly speaking." After further
noting that the highest-ranking Executive officer identified in the succesion
statute, the Secretary of State (Madalyn Albright), is not currently a
"natural-born citizen," Prof. Amar concluded that we could soon be saluting
President Lawrence Summers (Sec. of Treasury).
With tongue somewhat in cheek, I take it that this scenario remains possible,
if, e.g., a Florida state court were to enjoin the Florida electors from
casting their votes until the Palm Beach ballot controversy is judicially
Prof. Amar's illuminating (and amusing) Slate column can still be accessed at:
(make sure to copy BOTH lines of that address into your browser to access the
>===== Original Message From Discussion list for con law professors
<CONLAWPROF at listserv.ucla.edu> =====
>Rick Friedman writes:
>>neither President nor VP is chosen by Jan. 20, then under 3 USC sec.
>>19(a)(1), the Speaker of the House can resign from the House and the
>>speakership and act as President.
>Would it be "ethical" for the members of the House simply to refuse to
>break their deadlock and thus leave the now former Speaker as president for
>the duration? And, of course, next in line for succession would,
>presumably, be either Strom Thurmond or Robert Byrd, depending on which
>party organizes the Senate and, if following tradition, names their most
>senior senator president pro tem. Is this a great country or what?
Prof. Kenneth Katkin
561 Nunn Hall
Salmon P. Chase College of Law
Northern Kentucky University
Highlands Heights, KY 41099
katkink at nku.edu
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