2003: Presidential Succession

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Presidential Succession
Ties are broken by whoever was closest to the surface of Europa when they were born.
Title text: Ties are broken by whoever was closest to the surface of Europa when they were born.

Explanation[edit]

The United States presidential line of succession is the order of people who serve as president if the current incumbent president is incapacitated, dies, resigns, or is removed from office.

The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 was an act by the U.S. Congress that revised the presidential order of succession to its current order. This Act, though never challenged in the courts, may not be constitutional for two reasons. First, it is unclear whether members of Congress can be designated in the line of succession. Secondly, the Act allows for a cabinet officer to be "replaced" as acting President by a new Speaker of the House or a new President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

An additional concern regarding the Act is that after the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the line of succession list the members of the Cabinet in the order that their department was established with the oldest departments first, irrespective of the Secretary's personal fitness or appropriateness of the office. The Department of Homeland Security is in charge of the security and protection of the United States and its citizens and would probably already be privy to sensitive intelligence and briefings related to national security, but because it is the latest of the Departments to have been established (in 2003), the Secretary of Homeland Security is all the way at the bottom of the current Presidential line of succession at 18th, behind other Secretaries such as that of Agriculture (9th) and Education (16th).

Another practical concern is that, by including the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate immediately after the Vice President, there is a serious risk that the simultaneous death of the President and Vice President could cause the Presidency to change to the opposing party, which (in the current American political climate) could lead to serious political instability at the precise moment when the country is facing a national crisis, and could even encourage assassinations.

The full text of the Second Report of the Continuity of Government Commission can be found here: <https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_continuity_of_government.pdf>. A short, readable summary, including the report's recommended new line of succession, is here: <https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-continuity-of-the-presidency-the-second-report-of-the-continuity-of-government-commission/>. The first 6 members of the commission's list are included in the current line of succession, after which they specificy that 5 new people should be appointed specifically for the purpose of succeeding the presidency if needed. Randall's list begins with these 11 people (stuffing all 5 of the new appointees into #7); afterwards, his list continues with more politicians, actors who have played Presidents, athletes, and others.

Randall's list omits the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, as well as many other cabinet positions. He is probably simply following the commission's report in this. But perhaps he does not find those people qualified to become President of the United States, or is concerned about the constitutionality of lawmakers becoming President. However, he does not seem to be concerned about constitutionality, because he included the entire line of succession to the British throne, most of whom do not meet the requirement to be a natural-born citizen of the United States.[citation needed] Article Two of the US Constitution establishes that the President must be a "natural-born" US citizen at least 35 years of age and had lived in the US for the last 14 years.

Randall's list includes several other people who also might not be eligible to become President either because they are not natural-born U.S. citizens (e.g., as of the time of the comic's publication, Serena Williams had withdrawn from her last match in the French Open to Maria Sharapova, who is Russian) or they are under 35 years of age (Russell Westbrook, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player at the time of the comic's publication, was only 29 years old). These would mainly be athletes due to the relatively global reach of the four major professional sports leagues in North America and the fact that 35 is quite old for a professional athlete, let alone one who is good enough to win the league MVP. Presumably, those who wouldn't qualify for the office of President would be skipped over like in real life -- at the comic's publication, Elaine Chao was the Secretary of Transportation and would normally be 14th in line, but because she is a naturalized citizen of the US (she was born in Taiwan) she would not qualify for the office if the line came to her.

The title text mentions whoever was closest to the surface of Europa when they were born. Europa is a moon of Jupiter and one of the most likely locations in the Solar System for potential habitability. Nevertheless it's a completely meaningless way of settling a tie. However, depending on the relative positions of Earth and Jupiter when you were born, you could easily have been tens of millions of kilometers closer. Alternatively, Randall could be playing on how Europa sounds like Europe.

Order of succession[edit]

# Randall's order Current order by the 1947 Act Notes
1 President President Not generally considered part of the line of succession, as incumbents cannot "succeed" to their own post. (This should really be item 0 on the list.)
2 Vice president Vice president No change
3 Secretary of State Speaker of the House of Representatives Moved up from 5th position. This is likely a serious suggestion. Existing rules of succession hand Executive power to the leaders of the Legislative branch if the President and Vice-President are both killed or removed from power. This is troubling for a number of reasons. One is that the Executive and Legislative branches are supposed to act as independent checks on one another's power, and so are supposed to be kept separate. Another issue is that the Executive and Legislative branches are frequently controlled by political rivals from different political parties. In such a case, assassins could effectively reverse the results of Presidential elections if they managed to kill the President and Vice-President in a short period of time (which is used as part of the twist ending in White House Down). Additionally, leaders of the House and Senate aren't as deeply connected to the military and diplomatic missions of the country, and so would have a hard time maintaining continuity, particularly if an attack or disaster killed multiple national leaders at once. These problems could all be addressed by keeping the initial Line of Succession confined to the Executive branch of government.
4 Secretary of Defense President pro tempore of the Senate Moved up from 7th position
5 Secretary of Homeland Security Secretary of State Moved up from 19th position, possibly to highlight the Attorney General's place in the current order
6 Attorney General Secretary of the Treasury Moved up from 8th position
7 Five people who do not live in Washington DC, nominated at the start of the President's term and confirmed by the Senate Secretary of Defense Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States, and is where the White House, the President's residence, is located. Presumably this provision covers the case where much of the government, including positions 1–6 here, are killed by a natural disaster or attack in Washington, D.C.

This suggestion establishes no qualifications for these people, but the fact that they'd need to be confirmed by the Senate suggests that they would be chosen to be competent for the role. It is also unclear if an order is determined among these five or if they take up a joint presidency. This suggestion is taken from the Second Report of the Continuity of Government Commission as a potential mechanism to ensure members of succession are not in Washington DC during a catastrophic attack.

8 Tom Hanks Attorney General Academy Award-winning American actor. This is the first unambiguously unserious suggestion.[citation needed] Tom Hanks is very popular and considered exceptionally likeable by many Americans, but has never served in public office or displayed any particular affinity for politics. He has also never played a president, though he has received a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and appeared in a Last Week Tonight with John Oliver skit, where he rallies five (wax) presidents to action. The implication is that Mr. Hanks would be easily accepted as a leader, based solely on his personal charm.
9 State Governors, in descending order of state population at last census Secretary of the Interior Also taken from Second Report of the Continuity of Government Commission. At the time of publication, the last United States Census was the 2010 Census. As California is the most populous state, Gov Jerry Brown would be first in line.

See also the state population rankings and the list of current United States governors. As worded, this criterion would exclude territorial governors (and the Mayor of Washington, D.C.).

10 Anyone who won an Oscar for playing a governor Secretary of Agriculture Oscars, or Academy Awards, are annual film awards awarded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. At the time of publication, the only Oscar awarded for playing a governor was Broderick Crawford's 1949 Best Actor award for the fictional Willie Stark in All the King's Men (a character based on Huey Long). However, Crawford died in 1986, so would be unable to serve as President.

May be a reference to the Political career of Arnold Schwarzenegger: a highly-lauded actor who became governor of California, but did not win an Oscar or play a governor before being elected. (As a naturalized citizen, he is also ineligible for the Presidency.)

11 Anyone who won a Governor's award for playing someone named Oscar Secretary of Commerce The Governors Awards are an annual award ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to present lifetime achievement awards within the film industry. As this award is a lifetime achievement award, it does not seem possible that an actor could win this award for simply playing someone named Oscar. Notwithstanding the nature of the award, at the time of publication, no recipient of a Governors Award has played a character named Oscar.

Obviously, the joke is that changing the order of the words from the previous proposal produces something that could actually exist.

12 Kate McKinnon, if available Secretary of Labor Comedic actress famous for being a cast member on Saturday Night Live. She is known for her character work and celebrity impressions. She has recently done impersonations of members of the Trump administration including Spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. She also played Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign and presumably would have played her when she was President had she won; but since Clinton lost, McKinnon has not actually played a President.
13 Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Singles artists #1 through #10 (for groups, whoever is credited first in name, liner notes, etc) Secretary of Health and Human Services The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for singles, published weekly by Billboard magazine. The weekly data is aggregated into a cumulative Billboard Year-End (based on a "year" that ends the third week of November, in order to meet December publication deadlines). At the time of publication, the most recent such list was the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 2017.

Based on that list, the artists considered for the presidential succession would be: Ed Sheeran, Luis Fonsi, Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar, Alex Pall (of The Chainsmokers), Quavoius Keyate Marshall (of Migos), Sam Hunt, Dan Reynolds (of Imagine Dragons), and Post Malone. There are only nine names instead of ten because The Chainsmokers had two of the top 10 singles in 2017. Of these, only Luis Fonsi (40 years old, born in Puerto Rico) is legally eligible for the office; Sheeran is from the UK, and the other seven are too young.

14 The top 5 US astronauts in descending order of total spaceflight time Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Astronauts are highly respected and rigorously selected, but most have little involvement in politics. According to NASA, the top 5 US astronauts by cumulative space time are: Peggy Whitson, Jeff Williams, Scott Kelly, Mike Fincke, and Mike Foale. However, it isn't clear whether Foale would qualify as a natural-born citizen as he was born in the UK and his father is British but his mother is American.
15 Serena Williams (or, if she lost her most recent match, whoever beat her) Secretary of Transportation As of the time of publication, Serena Williams was the top female tennis player (though not the world #1 ranking, because she took time off for pregnancy). She is arguably the greatest female tennis player of all-time, winning 39 Grand Slam titles, including 23 women's singles titles. At the time of publication Serena Williams did win her most recent match (2018 French Open, third round, on June 2nd), although she withdrew from her next match against Maria Sharapova (which perhaps should count as a loss, especially if she withdrew in order to preserve her place in the line of succession and led the terrorist attack that killed everybody in place ahead of her).

If her most recent defeat was to a non-US player, presumably she would be skipped over in line although this is not explicitly stated (the current succession list skips over anyone who would not normally qualify for not being a natural-born US citizen).

16 The most recent season NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL MVPs Secretary of Energy MVP stands for Most Valuable Player. The 4 listed leagues are the major sports leagues in the United States, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and the National Hockey League (NHL). We're assuming that Randall meant the regular season MVPs of each league, as each league also awards MVPs for their respective championships (or in the case of the NHL's Conn Smythe Trophy, their entire playoffs).

As of the time of publication, the most recent MVPs for the listed sports were Russell Westbrook (NBA), Tom Brady (NFL), José Altuve and Giancarlo Stanton (MLB has two, one for the American League and one for the National League), and Connor McDavid (NHL). Of these, only Brady would qualify for the list - Altuve and McDavid are not US citizens (the former is from Venezuela and the latter from Canada), and Westbrook (29) and Stanton (28) are too young.

17 Bill Pullman and his descendants by absolute primogeniture Secretary of Education American actor, known for playing President Thomas J. Whitmore in the 1996 film Independence Day.

Absolute primogeniture is a form of succession where the oldest direct descendant regardless of gender receives the title. This is contrasted to Male-preference primogeniture, in which males come before females in the order of the throne, whether the males were born first or not. This may be a reference to the British law Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which changed the order of the throne from male-preference primogeniture to absolute primogeniture. This act allows Princess Charlotte to retain her place in line before Prince Louis.

As of the present, Pullman's immediate descendants consist of three children, with Maesa Pullman being the oldest at age 29, so all are currently too young for the presidency.

18 The entire line of succession to the British throne Secretary of Veterans Affairs According to the Constitution, only a natural-born citizen of the United States can become President, which means that at least most of the line of succession to the British throne is ineligible. However, it is possible that someone in the line of succession to the British throne either is a dual citizen (especially one who is a U.S. citizen based on place of birth and a British citizen based on having a parent who was a British citizen descended from Sophia of Hanover) or is not British (a person from outside of Britain can become King; for example, some, including George I, were from what is now Germany).

The first 57 names on the list are here, as of the time of publication. British Line of Succession on 6 June 2018 shows the list as it was at the comic's publication. American citizens have, at times been on the list, but no natural-born Americans are currently in the top 100. In theory, however, the full British succession list includes several thousand people (living descendants of Sophia of Hanover who are not Roman Catholic or otherwise disqualified), and it is possible that one or more such people would also be eligible to be President of the United States.

The humor here derives from the fact that the United States was established by declaring independence from the United Kingdom, with rejection of the British monarchy being a basic founding principle, and a core principle of US governance. To appoint the British monarchy to the American presidency would contradict the basic goals of American independence. Alternatively, it may reference the recent wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, although she is not in the order of succession to the British throne (and she is planning to give up her U.S. citizenship in favour of British citizenship, so her children (who would come immediately after Harry in the British line of succession) would not be born U.S. citizens either). A similar sequence of events was the plotline of the comedy film King Ralph, which saw an American become the British monarch after the death of the royal family.

19 The current champion of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest Secretary of Homeland Security The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is an annual American hot dog competitive eating competition sponsored by Nathan's Famous held on July 4th. As of the time of publication, the most recent men's winner is Joey Chestnut and the women's winner is Miki Sudo. Neither is currently old enough to assume the office.
20 All other US citizens, chosen by a 29-round single-elimination Jousting tournament None Effective for a population up to 536,870,912 individuals (2^29) which would be enough to cover the entire US population (estimated at around 325 million at time of publication), although additional rounds can be added should the population grow further.

This is probably a reference to the Matter of Britain (e.g., The Sword in the Stone), where, after the death of Uther Pendragon, with no known successor to the throne of England for years, it is decided that the winner of a jousting tournament shall be crowned. However, Arthur, the Wart, pulls the Sword from the Stone.

List of specific individuals[edit]

Based on the comic's defined criteria for the order of succession, these are the specific individuals in that order, including only people who are otherwise eligible to be the President of United States (35 year old and natural born US citizens who lived in US for last 14 years) as of the date the comic was published.

  1. Donald Trump (President of the United States)
  2. Mike Pence (Vice President of the United States)
  3. Mike Pompeo (United States Secretary of State)
  4. Jim Mattis (United States Secretary of Defense)
  5. Kirstjen Nielsen (United States Secretary of Homeland Security)
  6. Matthew Whitaker (Acting United States Attorney General)
  7. Tom Hanks (Tom Hanks)
    As Donald Trump did not appoint anyone to fill position #7 on Randall's line of succession, Hanks immediately follows after Sessions.
  8. Jerry Brown (Governor of California)
  9. Greg Abbott (Governor of Texas)
  10. Andrew Cuomo (Governor of New York)
  11. Rick Scott (Governor of Florida)
  12. Bruce Rauner (Governor of Illinois)
  13. Tom Wolf (Governor of Pennsylvania)
  14. John Kasich (Governor of Ohio)
  15. Rick Snyder (Governor of Michigan)
  16. Nathan Deal (Governor of Georgia)
  17. Roy Cooper (Governor of North Carolina)
  18. Phil Murphy (Governor of New Jersey)
  19. Ralph Northam (Governor of Virginia)
  20. Jay Inslee (Governor of Washington)
  21. Charlie Baker (Governor of Massachusetts)
  22. Eric Holcomb (Governor of Indiana)
  23. Doug Ducey (Governor of Arizona)
  24. Bill Haslam (Governor of Tennessee)
  25. Mike Parson (Governor of Missouri)
  26. Larry Hogan (Governor of Maryland)
  27. Scott Walker (Governor of Wisconsin)
  28. Mark Dayton (Governor of Minnesota)
  29. John Hickenlooper (Governor of Colorado)
  30. Kay Ivey (Governor of Alabama)
  31. Henry McMaster (Governor of South Carolina)
  32. John Bel Edwards (Governor of Louisiana)
  33. Matt Bevin (Governor of Kentucky)
  34. Kate Brown (Governor of Oregon)
    Born in Spain to a member of the US Air Force, should be considered a natural-born citizen until proven otherwise.
  35. Mary Fallin (Governor of Oklahoma)
  36. Dannel Malloy (Governor of Connecticut)
  37. Kim Reynolds (Governor of Iowa)
  38. Phil Bryant (Governor of Mississippi)
  39. Asa Hutchinson (Governor of Arkansas)
  40. Jeff Colyer (Governor of Kansas)
  41. Gary Herbert (Governor of Utah)
  42. Brian Sandoval (Governor of Nevada)
  43. Susana Martinez (Governor of New Mexico)
  44. Jim Justice (Governor of West Virginia)
  45. Pete Ricketts (Governor of Nebraska)
  46. Butch Otter (Governor of Idaho)
  47. David Ige (Governor of Hawaii)
  48. Paul LePage (Governor of Maine)
  49. Chris Sununu (Governor of New Hampshire)
  50. Gina Raimondo (Governor of Rhode Island)
  51. Steve Bullock (Governor of Montana)
  52. John Carney (Governor of Delaware)
  53. Dennis Daugaard (Governor of South Dakota)
  54. Bill Walker (Governor of Alaska)
  55. Doug Burgum (Governor of North Dakota)
  56. Phil Scott (Governor of Vermont)
  57. Matt Mead (Governor of Wyoming)
  58. Kate McKinnon (Kate MicKinnon)
    If she is available. Entries 10 and 11 on Randall's list have no eligible members.
  59. Luis Fonsi (Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 2017, #2 artist)
    Fonsi is the only eligible individual under the Billboard criterion.
  60. Peggy Whitson (Astronaut, 665 days in space)
  61. Jeff Williams (Astronaut, 534 days in space)
  62. Scott Kelly (Astronaut, 520 days in space)
  63. Mike Fincke (Astronaut, 382 days in space)
  64. Mike Foale (Astronaut, 374 days in space)
    Foale was born in the UK but his mother is an American, and he holds dual citizenship with both countries. It isn't clear legally whether this situation would qualify him as being a "natural-born" citizen as US courts have never definitively ruled on what the term means, so similar to Governor Kate Brown his name is included in the list until further notice.
  65. Tom Brady (NFL MVP)
    The MVPs of all other listed sports leagues are ineligible for the office due to age or nationality.
  66. Bill Pullman (Bill Pullman)
    None of his children are old enough to become President at this time.
  67. everyone else (Jousting tournament)
    Assumes that no eligible member of the British order of succession exists due to citizenship issues. The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating champions are too young to hold the office. further assumes that the number of eligible US-Citizens does not exceed 536,870,912

Transcript[edit]

A proposal for a new presidential line of succession
Current politics aside, most experts agree the existing process is flawed. The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 is probably unconstitutional on several counts, and there are many practical issues with the system as well.
(For more, see the surprisingly gripping Second Report of the Continuity of Government Commission, June 2009.)
Proposed line of succession:
  1. President
  2. Vice president
  3. Secretary of State
  4. Secretary of Defense
  5. Secretary of Homeland Security
  6. Attorney General
  7. Five people who do not live in Washington DC, nominated at the start of the president's term and confirmed by the Senate
  8. Tom Hanks
  9. State Governors, in descending order of state population at last census
  10. Anyone who won an Oscar for playing a governor
  11. Anyone who won a Governor's award for playing someone named Oscar
  12. Kate McKinnon, if available
  13. Billboard year-end Hot 100 singles artists #1 through #10 (for groups, whoever is credited first in name, liner notes, etc)
  14. The top 5 US astronauts in descending order of total spaceflight time
  15. Serena Williams (or, if she lost her most recent match, whoever beat her)
  16. The most recent season NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL MVPs
  17. Bull Pullman and his descendants by absolute primogeniture
  18. The entire line of succession to the British throne
  19. The current champion of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest
  20. All other US citizens, chosen by a 29-round single-elimination Jousting tournament


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Discussion

Aw, but what about Morgan Freeman? 108.162.221.11 04:43, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

And Kiefer -designated survivor- Sutherland?141.101.104.83 08:24, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
Morgan Freeman> "I do solemnly swear / that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States..." Linker (talk) 12:39, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Academy awards have been won by actors playing kings / queens - of England, the United Kingdom and Siam - Princes - of Denmark - and Prime Ministers of Great Britain and even the President of the Uniter States / Member of the house of Representatives, but I do not believe it has been won by an actor playing a state govenor. Mind you it is not clear if an actor playing a prison govenor, would count. Arachrah (talk) 11:30, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Broderick Crawford, actually. I've added him. To the best of my ability to determine, the opposite group (Governors Award recipients who have played characters named Oscar) appears to be an empty set. I'll note that I don't have a really comprehensive filmography for Jean-Claude Carrière, but I consider it fairly unlikely that he ever played a character by that name. Squeamish Ossifrage (talk) 16:08, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Bill Pullman's eldest daughter Maesa is a film composer with an IMDB page in her own right. Arachrah (talk) 11:30, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Top 5 US astronauts? I only count three. Who are the other two? 172.68.150.76 12:15, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

As of September 3, 2017, the 5 US astronauts with the most total time in space are Peggy Whitson (665 days), Jeff Williams (534), Scott Kelly (520), Mike Fincke (382), and Mike Foale (374), according to https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-station-astronaut-record-holders. Michael Lopez-Alegria has the second-most time in space for a single spaceflight (215 days, compared to Scott Kelly, 340). The Dining Logician (talk) 12:59, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Mike Foale was born in Louth - so ineligible. Michael Lopez-Alegria was born in Spain ditto Arachrah (talk) 15:26, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Foale was born to an American mother and should hence be a natural-born American. --Ycthiognass (talk) 09:40, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
There is actually legal question about whether someone born on foreign soil to US citizens count as "natural-born" (or whether courts would just say it's a political question and pass the buck to Congress), though I will add Foale back to the list. 162.158.62.207 14:04, 7 June 2018 (UTC)

The non-US-citizen-being-in-line-for-the-Presidency thing has already been cleared up IRL - several Presidential cabinets have had non-natural-born-US citizens on them (current Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was born in Taiwan; in the past Madeline Albright was born in the then-Czechoslovakia). All the serious succession lists I've ever seen just list them and skip over them. 162.158.62.51 13:19, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

How do we decide who gets a bye in the jousting tournament? 162.158.74.147 13:30, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Random draw, probably. There's no jousting rankings AFAIK to enable any kind of seeding like in tennis. 162.158.62.51 15:16, 6 June 2018 (UTC) There is a USA chapter of the International Jousting Association. I didn't spend enough time to track down a rankings list, but there are 3 levels of competition, which would be a start in seeding. To further seed I'd suggest using the Europa Tiebreaker.162.158.62.15 18:14, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

Anyone with a jousting ranking would not need a bye. Arachrah (talk) 15:26, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Anyone else think it's interesting that Kate gets a "if available" but Tom Hanks doesn't? 172.69.62.184 16:23, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Also, why doesn't Tom Hanks kids get to be in line, like Bill Pulman's? Colin Hanks is old enough. 162.158.122.210 03:59, 7 June 2018 (UTC)

I assume, but am too lazy to do all the maths, that the person born closest to Europa would be the one closest in time to the point Sun Earth and Jupiter are in line. I found a table of opposition distances here: http://www.ianridpath.com/jupiter.htm Arachrah (talk) 18:26, 6 June 2018 (UTC)That would seem to be the overwhelmingly dominant factor, the only other factors would be which side of the Earth someone is born on (up to 7915miles difference, or about 7 minutes of the Earth's orbit), and Elevation/Altitude,since as of yet no one has been born in space(citation required), this factor is trivial, equivalent to less than 1 second of Earth's orbit.162.158.62.15 18:14, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

All of this talk about where people were born is very misleading. The general opinion is that you have to have been a citizen from birth, not born in the U.S. (or a U.S. territory or whatever). Ted Cruz was born in Canada, but he would have been eligible had he won the nomination and the election. See http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/mar/26/ted-cruz-born-canada-eligible-run-president-update/ for discussion. —TobyBartels (talk) 20:56, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

  • Yes, Kate Brown (governor of Oregon) should be restored to Randall's line of succession, because she was born in Spain while her father was serving in the U.S. Air Force. Presumably she's a U.S. citizen by birth and thus eligible for the presidency. --172.68.150.52 22:44, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

I read #7 being that we would have 5 people as co-president. 162.158.122.210 03:59, 7 June 2018 (UTC)

Would that also hold for other entries where multiple people are listed (e.g., multiple league MVPs meet the criteria)? Also, there is the "ties broken by born closest to Europa" title text. 162.158.62.207 13:31, 7 June 2018 (UTC)

For the 'List of Specific Individuals', should it be maintained by who currently holds those positions, or left as who held them when the comic was posted? 172.69.70.71 12:14, 7 June 2018 (UTC)

If you want to come back and update the line as things change in the weeks, months, and years ahead, you're welcome to do so. If you do, I would recommend that both lists (the one accurate as of comic publishing and the one "updated") be maintained, perhaps as one table for fun comparison (adding blank spots as necessary if a current spot falls out of eligibility or a new one becomes eligible for whatever reason. 162.158.62.207 13:29, 7 June 2018 (UTC)

Tom Hanks is probably a reference to the June 4 Last Week Tonight episode, see http://time.com/5298479/john-oliver-last-week-tonight-guardianship/ 162.158.123.85 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Oh! Question regarding Serena Williams - does it count if her latest match was in a doubles tournament? She pretty much always teams up with sister Venus in doubles. 162.158.62.207 14:52, 7 June 2018 (UTC)

Anyone else curious about the apostrophe in "Governor's award"? The current notes imply that it is simply a mistake in "Governors Awards" (the Academy Awards similar to the Oscars), but Governor's awards (i.e., an award by a state Governor) for other areas are quite common (e.g. Clemson University Governor's Award for Excellence in Science and Pennsylvania's Governor's Award for the Arts). Rearranging Oscar and governor from the preceding criterion certainly makes sense, but wild speculation is always more fun... 172.68.211.28 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

1933: Santa Facts mentioned Santa being 9th in the presidential line of succession. 162.158.111.7 08:56, 8 June 2018 (UTC)

To me, #17 (Pullman and his descendants) seems to imply that we'd abolish the 4-year term and be presided by the Pullman clan for as long as there are eligible successors. #18 might imply that too. 162.158.74.21 20:14, 8 June 2018 (UTC)

Presidential elections are mandated in the Constitution every four years - Bill or any of his descendants, or any qualifying member of the UK royal line of succession, would only serve until the current term ends. (Whether a crisis that knocked so many people ahead of them out of the line would allow a reputable and accepted election is another story.) 173.245.52.139 15:37, 11 June 2018 (UTC)

I note that if Donald Trump wasn't already holding the office of President, he could only qualify from positions 7 and 20 on Randall's list. And not at all from the actual list. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 01:09, 10 June 2018 (UTC)

He wouldn't have been the only one - Obama's and JFK's previous job title before becoming President was US Senator, and Eisenhower was President of Columbia University. 173.245.52.139 15:37, 11 June 2018 (UTC)

There are two problems with this explanation: The line of succession applies only when the office of president becomes vacant. If the president is incapacitated, the vice president acts as president. If that office is vacant, or the vice precident is also incapacitated, the US will have to do without a president.

The constitution places no restrictions on who can act as president. The current law of succession stipulates that only those elegible to become president can act as president, the constitution does not. --162.158.134.154 08:30, 10 June 2018 (UTC)

Point 1, the office of President may be vacant but the powers of the Acting President execute the same by whomever the line falls to, and in times of crisis people will nearly certainly just consider them the new President (conflicting claims aside). Point 2 is just false - Article 2 of the Constitution stipulates natural-born citizen at 35 years old and having lived in the US for the last 14 years. Unless you're arguing that "President" and "Acting President" aren't the same? That sure as hell didn't stop John Tyler from refusing to acknowledge anyone who didn't acknowledge him as the new President after William Henry Harrison died a month into his term. 173.245.52.139 15:17, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
Point2: That is exactly what I am saying. Only the vice president can succeed to the presidency. The others would execute the powers of the president. What would most likely happen is that the acting president would appoint a vice president, who would succeed immediately when approved by congress.--162.158.134.34 07:50, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
Point 1: There would be no acting president. Only the vice president can become acting president when the president is incapacitated. This and the office of president being vacant are covered in entirely separate parts of the constitution. The line of succession applies only in the latter case.
Point 2: That was established in congressional legislation. Only the Vice President can become President when the President is incapcaitated, the rest act using the powers of the president but are not themselves the president.
The Queen

Shouldn't the Queen come before Charles of Windsor? She is 0th in the British succession line. 172.68.27.246 20:48, 17 June 2018 (UTC)

It would violate Royal Oath. Erkinalp (talk) 13:53, 19 June 2018 (UTC)