While the process of presidential succession is not typically high on the list of concerns most people have about the American government, presidential succession has risen in salience during the onset and continued spread of the coronavirus pandemic. For a brief period in early October 2020, presidential succession made its way close to the top of that list when President Donald Trump revealed he tested positive for Covid-19—a potentially deadly virus—and also seemed to have exposed the vice president. Although the worst fears of a succession crisis seem to have abated, the episode arguably brought the issue of succession to the forefront of public consciousness. If an actual succession crisis were to occur, however, looming constitutional problems in the current statute mapping the line of succession—combined with the current divided and highly polarized government—could spin a succession crisis out of control.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo International & Comparative Law Review website on October 12, 2020. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Rizzo, Kevin, "Rethinking Presidential Succession After Covid-19" (2020). CICLR Online. 5.