Friday, October 19, 2012

How Speaker John Boehner could become our next President.

There is a possible scenario under which Speaker of the House, John Boehner would become the next President of the United States.

It is possible that there could be a tie in the Electoral College (EC) if the election is as close as some polls, like Gallup, suggest.  The Washington Post has outlined five possible scenarios that might lead to a 269/269 tie.  See here:

 Most people aren’t aware of what happens if there is an EC tie.  Here is what could happen. 

In the case of a tie in the Electoral College, the House of Representatives (the NEW one elected this November) would decide the election with each state delegation having one vote.  We don’t know the exact makeup of the new House but Republicans are likely to retain control.  Right now Republicans have more House members in 33 states and Democrats have more members in 16 states.  Minnesota is evenly split.  Now assume that the Republicans vote as a block for Romney.  Romney would become President since Republicans control the House delegation from most states.

Now here is where it gets really interesting.  As I said, the House picks the President in the case of an Electoral College tie.  However, the Senate picks the Vice President.  If the Democrats barely retain control of the Senate, which seems likely, and the Democrats all vote for Biden, then Biden would be elected Vice President.  They could not vote for Obama since the Constitution requires them to pick from the top two V.P. candidates—Biden and Ryan.

Republican Romney would be President and Democrat Biden would be Vice President.

Now, it gets even more interesting.  Congress assembles on January 6 to count the Electoral Votes, so if there is a tie, we would not know who would become President until January 6th.  We would just have to wait.

Now suppose, for some reason the House still has not broken the tie by January 20th when the newly elected President is scheduled to take office.  Then, if the Senate has decided the tie for V.P, the newly chosen V.P. would act as President until the House could reach a decision.  In this case, Biden would serve as acting President—assuming the Senate Democrats retained control of the Senate and selected him.

It gets even more interesting.  If the House still has not selected a President and the Senate hasn’t selected a V.P., then guess who becomes acting President?  Answer:  The Speaker of the House. Presumably that would be John Boehner since the Republicans are expected to retain a majority in the House.

And that’s the way Speaker John Boehner could become President of the United States…at least for a while.

Scary, isn’t it?


Anonymous said...

From what I understand if the House reaches a 25 state to 25 state tie then John Boehner becomes President PERIOD, not temporarily.

See Rachel Maddow segment for details.

The Attack Democrat said...

You may or may not be right. 3 USC § 19 - Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act says:
(c) An individual acting as President under subsection (a) or subsection (b) of this section shall continue to act until the expiration of the then current Presidential term, except that—
(1) if his discharge of the powers and duties of the office is founded in whole or in part on the failure of both the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect to qualify, then he shall act only until a President or Vice President qualifies; and
(2) if his discharge of the powers and duties of the office is founded in whole or in part on the inability of the President or Vice President, then he shall act only until the removal of the disability of one of such individuals.

The question is: What would happen if the House eventually DID pick a President, say in March or April? Would the person picked then be considered “qualified” so that section C(1) would kick in.

Anonymous said...

So the whole thing rides on whether or not the House vote is a one-time vote or whether they have time to resolve a 25-25 state tie. That should be spelled out in the amendment but I haven't checked it yet.