Is the Presidential Succession Law Constitutional?

28 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2011 Last revised: 13 Oct 2011

See all articles by Vikram D. Amar

Vikram D. Amar

University of Illinois College of Law

Akhil Amar

Yale Law School

Date Written: 1995


In this essay, Akhil and Vikram Amar attack the constitutionality of the current presidential succession statute, which places the Speaker of the House and the Senate President pro tempore first and second in line, respectively, if there is neither a President nor a Vice President. Relying on the words of the Framers, the text and logic of the Constitution, and various practical and ethical concerns, the Amars conclude that federal legislators are not "Officers" under the Succession Clause and thus ineligible for the line of succession. Finally, the Amars suggest that an updated succession statute should provide for a prompt national election after succession, and should iron out various other wrinkles in the current succession statute.

Keywords: Constitution, succession, President

Suggested Citation

Amar, Vikram D. and Amar, Akhil (Reed), Is the Presidential Succession Law Constitutional? (1995). Stanford Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 1, p. 113, November 1995, UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN:

Vikram D. Amar (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Akhil (Reed) Amar

Yale Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

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