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Article 2, Section 1, Clause 6



Document 1

Records of the Federal Convention

[1:292; Madison, 18 June]

V. On the death resignation or removal of the Governour his authorities to be exercised by the President of the Senate till a Successor be appointed.

[2:146, 172; Committee of Detail, IV, IX]

The Presidt of ye Senate to succeed to the Executive in Case of (death) Vacancy untill the Meeting of the Legisle1

. . . . .

In Case of his Impeachment, (Dismission) Removal, Death, Resignation or Disability to discharge the Powers and Duties of his (Department) Office; the President of the Senate shall exercise those Powers and Duties, until another President of the United States be chosen, or until the President impeached or disabled be acquitted, or his Disability be removed.

[2:186; Madison, 6 Aug.]

In case of his removal as aforesaid, death, resignation, or disability to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the President of the Senate shall exercise those powers and duties, until another President of the United States be chosen, or until the disability of the President be removed.

[2:427; Madison, 27 Aug.]

Mr. Govr. Morris objected also to the President of the Senate being provisional successor to the President, and suggested a designation of the Chief Justice.

Mr. Madison added as a ground of objection that the Senate might retard the appointment of a President in order to carry points whilst the revisionary power was in the President of their own body, but suggested that the Executive powers during a vacancy, be administered by the persons composing the Council to the President.

Mr. Williamson suggested that the Legislature ought to have power to provide for occasional successors. & moved that the last clause (of 2 sect. X art:) relating to a provisional successor to the President be postponed.

Mr. Dickinson 2ded. the postponement. remarking that it was too vague. What is the extent of the term "disability" & who is to be the judge of it?

The postponement was agreed to nem: con:

[2:495; Journal, 4 Sept.]

The latter part of the 2 sect 10 art to read as follows.

He shall be removed from his office on impeachment by the House of representatives, and conviction by the Senate, for treason or bribery, and in case of his removal as aforesaid, death, absence, resignation or inability to discharge the powers or duties of his office the Vice President shall exercise those powers and duties until another President be chosen, or until the inability of the President be removed.

On the question to agree to the first clause of the report.

it passed in the affirmative

[2:535; Madison, 7 Sept.]

The mode of constituting the Executive being resumed, Mr- Randolph moved to insert in the first Section of the report made yesterday

"The Legislature may declare by law what officer of the U.S--shall act as President in case of the death, resignation, or disability of the President and Vice-President; and such officer shall act accordingly until the time of electing a President shall arrive."

Mr. Madison observed that this, as worded, would prevent a supply of the vacancy by an intermediate election of the President, and moved to substitute--"until such disability be removed, or a President shall be elected--" Mr. Governr. Morris 2ded. the motion, which was agreed to.

It seemed to be an objection to the provision with some, that according to the process established for chusing the Executive, there would be difficulty in affecting it at other than the fixed periods; with others, that the Legislature was restrained in the temporary appointment to "officers" of the U. S: They wished it to be at liberty to appoint others than such.

On the motion of Mr. Randolph as amended, it passed in the affirmative

N. H. divided. Mas. no. Ct. no. N.J. ay. Pa. ay. Del--no. Md. ay. Va. ay. N--C--no--S. C. ay--Geo. ay [Ayes--6; noes--4; divided--I.]

[2:573, 575, 598; Committee of Style]

The Legislature may declare by law what officer of the United States shall act as President in case of the death, resignation, or disability of the President and Vice President; and such Officer shall act accordingly, until such disability be removed, or a President shall be elected

. . . . .

. . . and in case of his removal as aforesaid, death, absence, resignation or inability to discharge the powers or duties of his office the Vice President shall exercise those powers and duties until another President be chosen, or until the inability of the President be removed.

. . . . .

(e) In case of the removal of the president from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the vice-president, and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability, both of the president and vice-president, declaring what officer shall then act as president, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or the period for chusing another president arrive.

[2:626; Madison, 15 Sept.]

Art II. sect. I. (paragraph 6) "or the period for chusing another president arrive" was changed into "or a President shall be elected" comformably to a vote of the [seventh] day of [September]

  1. [Editors' note.--Words in parentheses were crossed out in the original.]


The Founders' Constitution
Volume 3, Article 2, Section 1, Clause 6, Document 1
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a2_1_6s1.html
The University of Chicago Press

Farrand, Max, ed. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Rev. ed. 4 vols. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1937.

Easy to print version.


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