Presidential Succession Crisis

The Constitution, which sets forth the principle of rule of law, defines what is unconstitutional, and guarantees freedom of speech and other liberties of a Constitutional republic, and also describes the impeachment power. (How many know of the Jewish roots of this document?) Hypocrisy threatens Constitutional government. Could Israel use a constitution like this? More to the point: would a Convention of States save it, or destroy it? (Example: civil asset forfeiture violates the Constitution.) Quick fixes like Regulation Freedom Amendments weaken it. Furthermore: the Constitution provides for removing, and punishing, a judge who commits treason in his rulings. Furthermore, opponents who engage in lawfare against an elected President risk breaking the Constitution.
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The Obama birth certificate controversy is more than a “conspiracy theory,” now that a law-enforcement agency has found probable cause to suspect forgery. This creates a crisis in presidential succession, and also strikes at the legislative powers of Congress. One officer, more than anyone, can and indeed must act to resolve this issue: Representative John Boehner (R-OH-8), Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Obama birth certificate problem

Last Thursday, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, released the findings of his Cold Case Posse. They have investigated the Obama birth certificate since shortly after the White House released it. Sheriff Arpaio asked them to investigate after 250 local citizens petitioned him to investigate. They did so out of a concern that Barack H. Obama was and is not eligible to the office of President of the United States.

Sheriff Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse identified problems with the Obama birth certificate and a Selective Service card (“draft card”) issued in Obama’s name. They said that the problems make both documents invalid. They further spoke of a person of interest in the case, and have taken the next step toward issuing a formal “want” on this person for questioning.

Now Drew Zahn at WND (formerly World Net Daily) has identified the obvious problem. If the Obama birth certificate is a forgery, then some agency must search for a valid birth certificate. If no such document exists, then Barack H. Obama never qualified as President. In that case, when the Electoral College marked their ballots for President and Vice-President, they did not conduct a valid and lawful election as per Amendment XII of the Constitution. That in turn would mean that neither qualified President nor qualified Vice-President exists.

Presidential succession in Constitution and law


John Boehner, Speaker of the House, third in line of Presidential succession

Representative John A. Boehner (R-OH-8), Speaker of the House. Photo: United States House of Representatives

Amendment XX of the Constitution reads in relevant part:

[T]he Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

Congress has “by law [so] provide[d].” That law is the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, with subsequent amendments, listed as Title 3, United States Code, Section 19. Subsection (a), paragraph (1) of this section now reads:

If, by reason of death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, there is neither a President nor Vice President to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall, upon his resignation as Speaker and as Representative in Congress, act as President.

Note carefully the phrase “or failure to qualify.” This covers the current situation neatly. If Sheriff Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse are correct, then indeed

there is neither a President nor Vice President to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President.

Under that circumstance, the now-current Speaker of the House, John Boehner, must resign his Speakership and his seat in Congress and take over as Acting President. And he must so act until another person does qualify to be President. Current law does not provide specifically for getting a qualified President in such a case, so Boehner might have to act as President until next January, when the new Congress opens Presidential Electors’ ballots.

Indeed, Speaker Boehner can do nothing else. For if neither qualified President nor Vice-President exists, then every legislative act that Mr. Obama has signed, and every appointment he has made, are automatically invalid. Furthermore, no future act and no future appointment bearing his signature can possibly be valid.

Sheriff Arpaio called for Congress to investigate the Obama birth certificate further. In fact, the circumstances now not only authorize but oblige the House of Representatives to investigate this matter on its own. The reason: the presiding officer of the House is also the officer directly next in line of Presidential succession.

The phrase “shall act” in the Presidential Succession law means that John Boehner must act to settle this matter once and for all. More than Presidential succession is at stake, because the country cannot function without a President.


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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

32 Responses to Presidential Succession Crisis

  1. Politicalpony says:

    I’m still puzzled as to why let alone the Main Stream Media who we know work for Obama but others such as all of Fox News, and 2 specific so called Conservative radio stations haven’t yet long before now brought all of this to light. I can only pray that this comes front and center to the countries attention. I can only pray that the representatives in Congress aren’t so spineless as not to pursue this. If anyone thinks that this would hurt the country by exposing the fraud, think of the damage already being done because of the fraud. I think I’ll take my chances with leading the Usurper out of office in handcuffs.

    • Tonto USA says:

      I really believe that there is a very active terror campaign that is being waged against FOX. So far, they’ve been pressured to get O’Reilly to cool his jets, get rid of Glenn Beck, fire Judge Napolitano and generally “back off”. Lou Dobbs got fired for the same thing. Breitbart was obviously murdered, a couple homosexual “aquaintances” of Obama have been murdered and Internet sites that were virulently anti-Obama have been shut down. Not as murderous as the Clintons, but he’s working on it. Adamant posters on Conservative sites have obviously been followed…..and the surveilors made sure they knew it. There is a lot going on and the stakes are very high. Return to the Rebublic or submit to Nazi slavery….that’s what is at stake on 6Nov2012. Make sure to get out and vote on that day….take a gun with you if that’s what it takes.

  2. Politicalpony says:

    I failed to mention something in plain English, I wouldn’t call this a Presidential Crises, I’d call this a BLESSING!

  3. DinsdaleP says:

    The government in the state of Hawaii has attested that President Obama was born there in accordance with the data that’s beenpublicly released. They have jurisdiction over such matters, and unless it is proven that the state government of Hawaii has perpetrated a crime in this mattter, their declarations must be accepted as the truth in any American court of law, right?

    I’ll keep an open mind to any reasonable argument to the contrary, but thats why I’ve always found demands for “Obama to produce this document” or “Obama has to explain his SSN” so ridiculous. Any challenge to the legitimacy of records is with the agencies empowered to maintain them and attest to their veracity in a court of law.

    A competent law enforcement agent investigating an alleged crime knows what matters and where the evidence trail must lead to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is theater, not a serious investigation. “Cold case posse” makes great copy for WND – it’s played up like Walker and the Texas Rangers are hot on the trail, but they’ve done nothing except parrot the “findings” of other birthers a few minutes with Google could produce.

    Does he have jurisdiction to investigate fraud in the state government of Hawaii? In the Social Security Administration? He knows this is a pointless publicity exercise, which is why he’s using volunteer help instead of his own taxpayer-funded staff, lest he wind up being accused of fraud, incompetence, or both.

  4. Fergus Mason says:

    This is a storm in a teacup, being vigorously stirred by a publicity seeking small-town sheriff who has no jurisdiction. The “evidence of forgery” in the birth certificate is the sort of stuff that it would be childishly simple for any real forger to hide, especially one with the resources of the US government behind him.

    There is no probable cause. There is no forgery. Most of all, there is no succession crisis.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      “Small town”? For your information, Maricopa County is the county wherein lies the city of Phoenix, which is not only the county seat but is also the State capital and the most populous city in Arizona. It is also one of the ten most populous cities in the United States. Hardly “small town”!

      The jurisdiction of the sheriff extends to the propriety of listing a given candidate for President on ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona. Two hundred fifty citizens and lawful residents of that county duly petitioned their sheriff to investigate, on that very ground. That investigation has run for six months, well in advance of his present politically-motivated troubles with the Department of Justice.

      Why the forger made no apparent effort to hide his forgeries, I will not speculate. I leave that up to Sheriff Arpaio.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        However Phoenix has its own police department, which Arpaio doesn’t run.

        Anyway. Is this an official police investigation or something being carried out by a group of private citizens? If the latter, why? How many people has the investigation interviewed? What did the team they sent to Hawaii find?

        I put it to you that the forger made no effort to hide his forgery because there was no forger. The simplest way to forge a government document, especially when you happen to be the government, is to get a blank form and fill it in. Doing in in Photoshop would not be my first, or tenth, choice. In any case, Arpaio isn’t going to uncover anything. He has neither the jurisdiction nor the resources to do so even if anything was there to be uncovered.

        • Fergus Mason says:

          It seems, by the way, that Arpaio’s legal troubles date back at least as far as 2008, when a Federal grand jury began investigating him for politically-motivated prosecutions and other offences. That does appear to predate his “investigation” of Obama’s birth certificate by some time.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Yes, and they have thus far found nothing.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            Actually they have. Three separate cases (2008, 2010 amd 2010 again) have ruled that Arpaio’s prison system violates the Constitution. His department has been found to contain pervasive discrimination against ethnic minorities (2011.) In 2011 he was forced to end a policy of denying DoJ access to his staff and records. His election campaign group has been heavily fined for impropriety. Last year his own county board found that he was responsible for the misuse of over $100,000,000 of county funds. The list goes on.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          This is an official investigation. Members of the Cold Case Posse are sworn deputy sheriffs, even though they serve without salary or other emolument. Hence, this investigation incurs no taxpayer expense, but the investigative team are not the rank amateurs you seem so bent on making them out to be.

          If you wish answers to your other questions, I advise you to play the video of the conference. They explain their methods, and their results, there.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            I have to be honest here, Terry: this whole “birther” carry-on just looks like the work of an ultra-radical Republican faction that knows it can’t beat Obama this November.

            If the Republicans had come up with a sensible candidate instead of has-been Gingrich, Santorum who’s utterly terrifying to at least 70% of the US electorate and Romney the Magic Underwear Man, none of this would be necessary. In principle I’d much rather see a Republican president next January, but right now I’d prefer to have Obama elected for four more years than any member of the asylum that is the 2012 Republican campaign.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            As ever, you seem unable to read. The first person to raise the issue of Obama’s birthplace was Hillary Clinton. Not Newt Gingrich, not Rick Santorum (and maybe he horrifies you, but he does not horrify seven out of ten people whom I talk to), not Mitt Romney, not even John McCain, but Hillary Clinton. Obama bought her off with her appointment as SecState.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            Ah yes, John McCain. And what part of the USA was McCain born in?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “As ever, you seem unable to read.”

            That’s just rude, by the way. You know damn well that I can read and you know damn well that I’m European, but you choose to have a bit of a dig because I missed some minor detail of the cesspit the USA calls politics. I’m an atheist, Terry, so I have the luxury of not caring about What Would Jesus Do. As far as I’m concerned you don’t have to care either, but it may interest you to ponder it.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Would you rather that I accuse you of being deliberately obtuse, or even mendacious? In your last message you totally ignored certain facts that I set out in the original article. Now that means one of three things, none of which are flattering to you:

            1. Failure of reading comprehension.
            2. Refusal to grasp the full implications of what one has read.
            3. Deliberate misrepresentation of what one has read.

            All right, then. Which is it?

          • rpeh says:

            Are you sure the volunteers are sworn deputies? The posse’s website ( doesn’t mention that and I can’t find anything else that states this was the case.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            He said during the press conference that members of the Cold Case Posse each swore the deputy’s oath. The distinguishing feature of the Posse is that its members do not serve at taxpayers’ expense.

      • DinsdaleP says:

        The question I asked remains unanswered, related to this point:

        “If the Obama birth certificate is a forgery, then some agency must search for a valid birth certificate.”

        Regardless of whether this electronic document seems legitimate or not, the state of Hawaii has officially declared that President Obama was born there on the date that corresponds to the records already made public. That is their jurisdiction, and that is the fact that counts in a court of law.

        Unless an entity with standing can prove criminal fraud in the Hawaiian government regarding this matter, then all the arguing over an electronic data file is just that – an argument over a file, and not whether President Obama was born when and where the record states.

        If Hawaii or any other state officially declares that a candidate was born in a given time & place, then what standing does Arpaio or Arizona have to invalid that?

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          That “official declaration” will not and cannot substitute for the exhibition of an actual, legitimate document that will satisfy those with a legitimate reason to ask for it. I’ve never heard of this concept—we’re supposed to “take their word for it”? We deal here with a qualification for national office. If a State has a right to tell election officials in other States to “take our word for it,” then those other States have an equal right to refuse, and to instruct appointed members of the Electoral College not to vote for this man until he can satisfy their Divisions of Elections that he is, in fact, qualified.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            Well Terry, if Uncle Joe has jurisdiction he can ask Hawaii to hand over the original birth certificate. Would that satisfy him, do you think?

            Or is there nothing which would convince him that Borat Osama was actually born in the USA? This is the problem here, you see. “Birthers” aren’t too good at saying what would satisfy them then sticking to it. They asked for the birth certificate and got it. Except it wasn’t enough, was it? So what WOULD be enough? Just asking…

  5. DinsdaleP says:

    By the way, since you’ve also stated that John McCain would not have been eligible to serve as president, imagine if he had won in 2008.

    Would we be seeing you and your colleagues standing on principle in 2009 to have him and Palin removed from office, all of their actions on the domestic and international scene reversed, and Nancy Pelosi taking over the country in their place?

    Just vote the man out of office already – all you need is someone the nation considers a better alternative.

    • Fergus Mason says:

      Except of course there isn’t anyone the nation considers a better alternative. Gingrich is a second rater, Romney is weird and, whatever Terry’s mates think, all the Americans I know think Santorum is terrifyingly insane.

      Obama. Four more years, sadly.

  6. Tonto USA says:

    I always thought that the idea of a Republic was that everyone has a say….from the greatest to the smallest….kinda like David whackin’ Goliath. I see a couple comments here that seem to think, rather selectively, that authority shouldn’t be challenged, then switch horses and say that some authority SHOULD be challenged. Well, get it together guys, this is the real world, not some liberal nirvana where Conservatives may be challenged but liberal darlings may not. If Obama is the bum and fake that he is suspiciously resembling, he should be exposed and impeached….and tried and hanged as a traitor. There is something cleansing about investigating the background of all our political figures. Chameleons, liars, thieves and fakers are attracted to the political arena because of their ego drive for recognition and power….not because they are necessarily nice guys and/or have a deep and driven desire to serve the common good. The emotional “goom-by-ah”. “it’s for the children” or we’re helping some one feelings are just fine, but liberals have a tendency to play that game while forcing others to play whether they want to or not. That’s what is really at stake here. I like guns and have several, liberals are scared of guns and want to ban all of them. I like to smoke cigarettes, liberals don’t and want to ban all of them. I don’t do dope, liberals do and want to legalize all of them. Liberals in power are the actually the most repressive and onerous force in the entire nation. Conservatives are about “do, or don’t do, what you want but keep it out of my face”. Impasse.

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