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presidential succession; legal history


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, Roy E. Brownell II, a Washington, D.C., Attorney and Member of the Continuity of Government Commission, discusses some historical examples that demonstrate how close the nation has come to actually having to implement legislative succession to the presidency.