Fordham Law Review Online

The Presidential Succession Act at 75 | Problems with the Legislative Succession Provisions of the Presidential Succession Act of 1947

November 3, 2022

These remarks were delivered as part of the program entitled The Presidential Succession Act at 75:  Praise It or Bury It?, which was held on April 6, 2022, and hosted by the Fordham University School of Law. The Presidential Succession Act sets out the presidential line of succession and other procedures for situations in which the president and vice president have both died, resigned, been removed, or become unable to discharge the presidency’s powers and duties. The Act also addresses succession scenarios before Inauguration Day. In light of the statute’s seventy-fifth anniversary, this program explored relevant history and analyzed whether reform to the statute is needed.

In these remarks, Dr. Norm J. Ornstein, a Senior Fellow Emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute and Advisor to the Continuity of Government Commission, outlines constitutional and policy objections to the Presidential Succession Act of 1947’s designation of lawmakers—the Speaker of the House and Senate president pro tempore—as the first two successors to the presidency after the vice president.