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November 24, 2006

SANDY LEVINSON: "This is the perfect time for Speaker-designate Pelosi to announce that she will sponsor a bill, ideally with the outgoing Speaker Dennis Hastert, to revert to the older Succession in Office Act that was replaced in 1947 with the present one. This would indeed make Condoleezza Rice the designated successor were the vice presidency vacant. It would represent an act of high statepersonship and, as much as any single act could do, establish that she means it when she describes the arrival not only of new leadership, but a new public-spiritiedness to replace naked partisanship."

Mike Rappaport agrees. Any idea that can draw the support of both is worth thinking about.

UPDATE: Ilya Somin agrees, too, and adds: "There is also another weakness in the current system, one that Michael and Sandy don't consider in their posts. Fourth in line under the 1947 act is the president pro tempore of the Senate. By tradition, the president pro temp is the longest-serving Senator of the majority party. The current PPT is Republican porker Ted Stevens of Alaska - soon to be replaced by the Democrats' own 'King of Pork,' Bob Byrd of West Virginia. In addition to their other shortcomings, both Stevens and Byrd are in their 80s (83 and 89 respectively). This is not accidental. By its very nature, the presidency pro temp is likely to be held by elderly and often infirm politicians. Senators who last for decades are also likely (by virtue of their seniority) to be heavily implicated in porkbarreling and other dubious practices of the world's greatest deliberative body. For these reasons, among others, the PPT should not be included in the line of presidential succession."