2003: Presidential Succession
Title text: Ties are broken by whoever was closest to the surface of Europa when they were born.
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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.
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
The first 6 members of Randall's list are included in the current line of succession. After the top 6, his list ranges from politicians, to actors who have played Presidents, to athletes.
Randall's list omits the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, as well as many other cabinet positions. Perhaps he does not find those people qualified to become President of the United States, and is concerned about the constitutionality of lawmakers becoming President.
This is another comic in the continuing line of comics about American politics, especially after the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016.
Order of succession
|#||Randall's order||Current order by the 1947 Act||Notes|
|2||Vice president||Vice president|
|3||Secretary of State||Speaker of the House of Representatives|
|4||Secretary of Defense||President pro tempore of the Senate|
|5||Secretary of Homeland Security||Secretary of the Treasury|
|6||Attorney General||Secretary of Defense|
|7||Five people who do not live in Washington DC, nominated at the start of the President's term and confirmed by the Senate||Attorney General||Unclear if these 5 people have to have any qualifications whatsoever.|
|8||Tom Hanks||Secretary of the Interior||Academy Award-winning American actor|
|9||State Governors, in descending order of state population at last census||Secretary of Agriculture||As of time of publishing, the last census was the 2010 U.S. Census. Link to state populations.|
|10||Anyone who won an Oscar for playing a governor||Secretary of Commerce||Oscars, or Academy Awards, are annual film awards awarded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.|
|11||Anyone who won a Governor's award for playing someone named Oscar||Secretary of Labor||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.|
|12||Kate McKinnon, if available||Secretary of Health and Human Services||Comedic actress famous for being a cast member on Saturday Night Live. She is known for her character work and celebrity impressions.|
|13||Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Singles artists #1 through #10 (for groups, whoever is credited first in name, liner notes, etc)||Secretary of Housing and Urban Development||The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for singles, published weekly by Billboard magazine.|
|14||The top 5 US astronauts in descending order of total spaceflight time||Secretary of Transportation|
|15||Serena Williams (or, if she lost her most recent match, whoever beat her)||Secretary of Energy||As of the time of publishing, 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 14 women's doubles titles.
If her most recent defeat was to a non-US player, it is unclear whether that person would still qualify for President.
|16||The most recent season NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL MVPs||Secretary of Education||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).
As of the time of publishing, the most recent MVPs for the listed sports are 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).
|17||Bill Pullman and his descendants by absolute primogeniture||Secretary of Veterans Affairs||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 receives the title. This is contrasted to Male-preference primogeniture, in which females come before males in the order of the throne, whether the females 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.
|18||The entire line of succession to the British throne||Secretary of Homeland Security||Unsure if this is constitutional, or what the Founding Fathers would have wanted (a Brit sitting as U.S. President!). The complete list is here and includes 57 names, as of the time of publishing.|
|19||The current champion of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest||None||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 publishing, the most recent men's winner is Joey Chestnut and the women's winner is Miki Sudo.|
|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), although additional rounds can be added should the population grow further.|
The title text mentions whoever was closest to the surface of Europa when they were born. Europa is a moon of Jupiter, so most people would be very far from its surface when they were born. Alternatively, Randall could be playing on how Europa sounds like Europe.
|This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.|
- 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:
- Vice president
- Secretary of State
- Secretary of Defense
- Secretary of Homeland Security
- Attorney General
- Five people who do not live in Washington DC, Nominated at the start of the president's term and confirmed by the Senate
- Tom Hanks
- State Governors, in descending order of state population at last census
- Anyone who won an Oscar for playing a governor
- Anyone who won a Governor's award for playing someone named Oscar
- Kate McKinnon, if available
- Billboard year-end hot 100 singles artists #1 through #10 (for groups, whoever is credited first in name, liner notes, etc)
- The top 5 US astronauts in descending order of total spaceflight time
- Serena Williams (or, if she lost her most recent match, whoever beat her)
- The most recent season NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL MVPs
- Bull Pullman and his descendants by absolute primogeniture
- The entire line of succession to the British throne
- The current champion of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest
- All other US citizens, chosen by a 29-round single-elimination Jousting tournament.
- Title text: Ties are broken by whoever was closest to the surface of Europa when they were born.
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