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Abstract

We are of one mind in recommending for consideration the thoughtful report developed by the Presidential Succession Clinic of the Fordham University School of Law. We were pleased to participate in the Fordham Law Review program that preceded the establishment of the Clinic and led to the publication of an issue of the journal, entitled The Adequacy of the Presidential Succession System in the 21st Century: Filling the Gaps and Clarifying the Ambiguities in Constitutional and Extraconstitutional Arrangements , 79 Fordham L. Rev. 775–1160 (2010). The program was a unique, but highly practical, academic undertaking. We each also participated in a class with the Clinic, sharing our experiences with the students and responding to their questions.

We are each aware from our own public service of the importance of anticipating and developing approaches to the handling of contingencies that, if they occurred, could endanger our nation. We have been reminded time and again that what may appear at one time to be remote does in fact occur. Luckily, we have met past challenges and have taken steps to improve our system, but we have not addressed every gap.

The accompanying Report, entitled Ensuring the Stability of Presidential Succession in the Modern Era: Report of the Fordham University School of La’s Clinic on Presidential Succession , is important for many reasons. It provides a thorough history of our nation’s three succession statutes, examines the Twenty-Fifth Amendment that has served the nation well, and discusses political party rules and procedures for responding to succession contingencies in the pre–inaugural period. The three professors and nine students of Fordham Law School who have studied the system of presidential succession and developed this Report offer recommendations worthy of careful attention regardless of one’s point of view on the subject generally or on any particular recommendation. Fordham Law School has made valuable contributions in the field of presidential succession, and this Report is the latest and possibly most immediately constructive.

We thank Fordham Law School, its deans, professors, and students, for inviting us to participate in this rich and vital endeavor. We have no doubt that this Report will be of enormous benefit to decision makers and citizens more broadly, and we urge decision makers in the federal government, as well as our national party leadership, to give it their most serious consideration.

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