Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Saturday, July 03, 2010

With the death of Robert Byrd, Joe Biden is next in line,to the Presidency, then Nancy Pelosi, and then... wait, who is the President pro tem of the Senate now?

It's Daniel Inouye, the senior senator from Hawaii!
Inouye has always impressed me as a decent guy, but he's 85 years old. I can understand where the notion the the President pro tem ought to be in line might come from, but that doesn't make it a good idea. It is a largely ceremonial office, for one thing, unlike the Speaker of the House, who is actively involved in policy making. The President pro tem comes to the job by hanging around longer than anyone else. Consider who has held the office since the 25th Amendment was ratified: James O. Eastland (Racist Monster, Mississippi), Warren Magnuson (D, Washington), Milton Young (R, North Dakota)(served for a day before retiring. I didn't know that either.), Strom Thurmond (Hate-Filled Old Codger, South Carolina), John C. Stennis (Racist Monster, Mississippi), Ted Stevens (Convicted Felon, Alaska), and Byrd. I kinda liked Bob Byrd, but I'll be honest, I can't say the idea of Robert Byrd behind the desk in the Oval Office would have ever filled me with delight.

Granted, the members of the Senate all no doubt believe that each of these characters would be supremely qualified to be President-- after all, they are all Senators, right? I am less enthusiastic, although resigned. The disaster that would result in Daniel Inouye becoming President would dwarf the disaster that Daniel Inouye would be as President (Eastland, Stennis, Thurmond maybe not so much.)

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