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U.S. Presidential line of succession

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The United States Presidential line of succession is the order of who replaces the United States President if he leaves office before his term ends. If the President dies, quits, or is removed from office, the Vice President becomes President for the rest of his term. If the Vice President cannot do it, the next person in the line of succession acts as President. As of 2013, only Vice Presidents have replaced the President.

Prior 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 Executive Branch. 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 new 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 this, there was no Vice President. The Chief Justice and other members of the Supreme Court were not a part of the line of succession.

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

Current Line of Succession

The most recent law about the line of succession was passed in 1947. This is the current line of succession

# Office Current Officer
1 Vice President Joe Biden
2 Speaker of the House of Representatives style="background:Template:Republican Party (US)/meta/shading"|John Boehner
3 President pro tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy
4 Secretary of State John Kerry
5 Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew
6 Secretary of Defense style="background:Template:Republican Party (US)/meta/shading"|Chuck Hagel
7 Attorney General Eric Holder
8 Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
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 Arne Duncan
17 Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald
18 Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson


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