The White House has no plan for a line of succession if both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are incapacitated for work by the corona virus, it confirmed Thursday.
The lack of a plan combined with a conflicting law could lead to a scenario in which both speaker Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are sworn in as acting president, leaving it to the courts to decide who leads the country.
“That’s not even something we’re talking about,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Thursday when asked by DailyMail.com about a follow-up plan.
“We keep the President healthy. We keep the vice president healthy and you know they are healthy right now and they will continue to be. ‘
The White House has no plan for a line of success if both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence become incapacitated by coronavirus
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told DailyMail.com that a scenario where both President Trump and Vice President Pence are incapacitated is not being considered
She wouldn’t go into whether the administration would have one, given the two recent cases of the White House coronavirus.
“The president is healthy. The vice president is healthy and I think that’s something all journalists and the American people should celebrate, ”she said.
Concerns about the line of succession have grown after two close contacts with the coronavirus: one of President Trump’s military servants serving his meals has been positive, as has Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller.
The presidential line of succession has been mentioned several times in the Constitution and subsequent laws passed by Congress, but some scenarios lack a procedure for determining who would occupy the Oval Office.
One of the scenarios is when both the President and the Vice President are incapacitated for work. While there are procedures to replace the President when he dies and to replace the Vice President when he dies, it can simultaneously lead to a constitutional mess.
Constitutional and legal experts warn that this could lead to a situation where both Pelosi and Pompeo declare themselves acting presidents.
The inheritance law of 1886 made it clear that the line of succession ran through the presidential cabinet. But the 1947 presidential succession law put the speaker of the House and the president in the line of succession.
However, serious legal issues come into play with that law, which has never been tested in the real world.
“There is a strong argument that the law that puts the speaker and presidency in the senate in the line of succession is unconstitutional,” said Brian Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University who is an expert in the follow-up process, against DailyMail. com on Thursdays. He also wrote about it The Atlantic Ocean.
There are arguments that the 1947 law violates the inheritance clause in the Constitution. In addition, the incompatibility clause prohibits a congressman from serving in the executive, but the succession clause requires the next officer to retain his or her seat to “serve as president.” wrote Harvard Professor Jack Goldsmith and law student Ben Miller-Gootnick last month investigating the follow-up issue.
“There is a gap in the law,” Kalt said of a scenario in which both executive branch leaders are incapacitated for work at the same time.
There is a scenario in which both speaker Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declare themselves Acting President
The President of Parliament is considered third in the succession series, but lawyers point to possible constitutional problems
If President Trump and Vice President Pence are both incapacitated for work, the courts would likely decide who will act as acting president
So imagine the scenario in which both Trump and Pence are dead or incapacitated for work. Pelosi could put down her convention office and have a congressman sworn in as her president. At the same time, Pompeo could have someone – say Attorney General Bill Barr – to make him swear as president.
Kalt outlined such a scenario in his book Constitutional Cliffhangers: “The Speaker would have the statute and well-founded expectations on her side; the secretary of state would have the stronger constitutional arguments and all policy arguments … – a resilient force versus a movable object. ‘
He told DailyMail.com that the matter would go to trial.
“A court should decide and it is not clear what they decide,” he said.
While the court was weighing its decision, it would likely grant a temporary reprieve calling the person in charge Pelosi or Pompeo while judges heard legal arguments.
Given the country’s political polarization, it would likely lead to massive protests and general chaos until a final verdict was made.
If the courts choose not to hear the case, which they could do if they declare it a political issue rather than a legal one, the odds would favor Pompeo simply because he is a member of the president’s party and all is established in the executive.
Congress could address the gaps in law by adopting additional legislation.
“The whole point of a line of succession is that we know who the president is at all times,” Kalt noted.