The Succession: Next in Line

A law passed in 1947 moved the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate ahead of the Secretary of State in the line of succession to the presidency. The theory was that elected, not appointed, officials should have precedence—and for so long as Texas' revered Sam Rayburn was Speaker, there were few questions about the law. But now, with Speaker John McCormack standing next to the President, arguments against the law have been expressed by some who doubt McCormack's capacities.

The main counts against McCormack are his age,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!