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Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA

Sherman Introduces Presidential Succession Legislation


Nov 18, 2004
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced legislation that would update the current Presidential Succession law.  This bill is a more comprehensive version of the Presidential Succession Act, H.R. 2749, which he introduced last year.

In early October, Sherman, a leading congressional expert in this issue, testified in front of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing on presidential succession.

œWhat is most important here is continuity and legitimacy: continuity of the policy program selected quadrennially by the voters, and the unambiguous right of a single person to serve as our legitimate president, said Sherman. œUnfortunately, our current law falls far short of achieving these objectives.

Sherman expressed his sentiment that the will of the people would be subverted if a congressional leader of a different party ascended to the Presidency, and completely reversed the course of government set by the elected administration.  Current law could mislead terrorists into believing that by killing the President and Vice President, they could alter U.S. policy. 

Under current law, there are scenarios where one catastrophe could result in as many as four claimants to the Presidency.

œMy bill states that the line of succession should run through the Cabinet Officers, not through the congressional leadership, said Sherman.  œMy bill also adds five ambassadors to the end of the succession list in case Washington, DC is destroyed. The new legislation also addresses the vulnerable time period between the day political parties choose their presidential nominees and the day the new President is sworn in.
Several presidential experts including Professor Akhil Amar, Yale Law School; Thomas Neale, Congressional Research Service, and Professor Colleen Shogan, George Mason University have expressed keen interest and support for Shermans legislation.

œThe foregoing scenarios may seem far-fetched and macabre.  But in the nuclear age, and the age of terrorism, our presidential succession laws must be as solid as the barriers ringing the Capitol, added Sherman.

For a copy of the new legislation, contact Sharon Singh at 202.225.5911 or