U.S. Presidential line of succession facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

United States Presidential line of succession is the order in which government officials replace the United States President if the president leaves office before an elected successor is inaugurated. If the President dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the Vice President becomes President for the rest of the term. If the Vice President is unable to serve, the next person in the line of succession acts as President. As of 2016, only the Vice President has replaced the President.

Previous lines of succession

The laws about succession were first created in 1792. The second in line, after the Vice President, was the leader of the Senate. The next in line was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 1868, during the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Wade was the leader of the Senate. He almost became president, but Johnson was found not guilty by one vote. Johnson had been the Vice President for Abraham Lincoln. He became President after the assassination of Lincoln. Because of Lincoln's assassination, there was no Vice President at the time. The Chief Justice and other members of the Supreme Court were not a part of the line of succession.

In 1886, after the death of Vice President Thomas A. Hendricks, Congress passed a law that took out the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives from the line of succession. The new person behind the Vice President in line was Secretary of State, followed by other Cabinet members.

Present line of succession

The most recent law about the line of successions passed in 1967. Right below is the current line of succession for the United States:

# Office Current Officer
1 Vice President Joe Biden
2 Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan
3 President pro tempore of the US Senate Orrin Hatch
4 Secretary of State John Kerry
5 Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew
6 Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter
7 Attorney General Loretta Lynch
8 Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell*
9 Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
10 Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker
11 Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez
12 Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell
13 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro
14 Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx
15 Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz
16 Secretary of Education John King, Jr.
17 Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald
18 Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson

*Sally Jewell was born in the UK, and thus is not eligible to hold the office of the President.

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