landofthenoblefree said:

How many times has America been without a president at the helm? I can think of several times where there was no sworn in president because of a death or assassination (for example, from the moment JFK was shot to hours later on the plan on the tarmac in Dallas, LBJ was not technically president... Is the vice president automatically president? And what if the president has not been declared dead? Sorry for such a dense question

This is one of those weird areas where there is a lot of confusion because the Constitution requires the President to take the oath of office before discharging the duties of the office, but in reality, we’ve never been without a President. In the eyes of the government and the military and the Secret Service, there is never an interregnum, even if the oath hasn’t been taken. While it might not be exactly what the Constitution sets forth, the powers of the Presidency instantly changes hands when a President dies or resigns.

Using the Kennedy Assassination for example, the powers of the Presidency passed to LBJ as soon as President Kennedy was pronounced dead. And, even as JFK was being worked on in the trauma room at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, the Secret Service recognized that he wasn’t going to survive and immediately began switching protection to LBJ. Some Secret Service agents regularly on JFK’s detail didn’t even know what to do at the time because there was no precedent for the protection of a deceased President’s family. They questioned who would go with LBJ from Parkland to Love Field — LBJ’s regular Secret Service detail, or the regular Presidential detail (since, to them, LBJ was now President — even if he hadn’t yet been sworn in). Even when people addressed LBJ at Parkland Hospital, minutes after President Kennedy was officially pronounced dead, they addressed him as “Mr. President”. Technically, he hadn’t raised his right hand and taken the Presidential oath, but he was President — and that’s how it’s been with every other transition.

There is never an instant where we don’t have a President because it’s potentially dangerous, and continuity-of-government is an extraordinarily important part of maintaining a democratic republic. The people need to know that somebody is always in charge, and our enemies always need to know that we will never be caught sleeping. That’s why we have “designated survivors” — individual officers in the Presidential line of succession that are taken to a safe place or undisclosed location during events like the State of the Union Address when most of the rest of the people in the line of succession are gathered in one place. That’s also why a nuclear football travels everywhere the Vice President goes, too. If there was a sudden nuclear attack on Washington, D.C. that took out the President and most of Congress while the Vice President was out of town, we wouldn’t wait for the VP to be sworn in as President. The VP has the same type of military aide as the President and the same authentication card for launching nuclear weapons as the President, so if something happens to the POTUS, the VP can take charge as Commander-in-Chief and launch retaliatory strikes, if necessary. 

You asked about what would happen if the President hadn’t been declared dead. In that case, there are contingency plans under the 25th Amendment, but it depends on the situation. If there is the possibility of recovery, power can be transferred to the Vice President (or whomever is next in the line of succession) while an injured or ailing President is recovering. The President can transfer power to the VP himself with a letter to the Speaker of the House and President pro tempore of the Senate, and the VP would be Acting President until the President notifies the same two leaders that he is able to reclaim his office and discharge the duties.

But if the President is incapacitated and unable to transfer power to the VP by letter, there is another way to enact the 25th Amendment — and this would also be something necessary if a President was incapacitated and refusing to transfer power (an example of this is Woodrow Wilson clinging to office after his debilitating stroke, or if a President was clearly declining due to Alzheimer’s disease but wouldn’t resign). In that case, the Vice President and either a majority of “the principal officers of the executive department” (the Cabinet secretaries) or a majority of Congress could notify (by writing) the Speaker of the House and President pro tempore of the Senate of the President’s irreparable incapacitation. Then, it would require a 2/3rds majority from both the House of Representatives and the Senate to transfer power to the Vice President or next in the line of succession as Acting President. 

The Constitution does specifically require that the President take the oath (or “affirmation) of office “Before he enter upon the Execution of his Office…” and that tends to be the first thing that a President actually does, but a President becomes President at the moment their predecessor’s term ends. Fortunately, we haven’t had any sort of Constitutional crisis where a new President who has not yet taken the oath has issued an order and been rebuffed by someone who says, “Ummm…you didn’t say the magic 35 words.” 

"I kill everybody, I Don't Care." Mentally Deranged, Right Wing Fanatic Cop Suspended In Ferguson (VIDEO)

“I kill everybody, I Don’t Care.” Mentally Deranged, Right Wing Fanatic Cop Suspended In Ferguson (VIDEO)

Image Credit: CS Monitor

A fourth police officer has been suspended in St. Louis, after a violent episode in which he pushed CNN reporter Don Lemon. After the incident, CNN reporters began looking into the background of officer Dan Page. They turned up a video which should send shivers down the spine of every civilized human being.

Page appears to be a member of a right wing militia group. The…

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It's clear I have interwebs at the moment

but I won’t be arsed to do the daily palaeo news until I return home at the end of next month. On the brighter side I’ve queued some reblogs and the daily journal article for next week.

As always, hoping you all are well.

For those who are upset about the lack of media coverage on the ground in Ferguson:

Media outlets are trying, really hard, to get in there. They want to shoot video, take pictures, do interviews. Ferguson Police have basically banned them: Told them to vacate, threatened them with arrest, actually arrested them, hit them with tear gas, took apart their cameras and equipment, and assaulted them.

The media is trying to cover this. But apparently the 1st Amendment doesn’t exist in Ferguson.

Happy Constitution Day! The Constitution is 226 years old, and is the oldest written constitution still in use today. It is on permanent display at the National Archives in Washington, DC. You can see a high-res image and read a transcript of the Constitution here: http://go.usa.gov/D5VR

Top Five Facts about the Constitution!

Five: The Constitution has 4,543 words, including the signatures. It takes about 30 minutes to read.

Four: Two of the first 12 amendments submitted were rejected; the remaining ten became the Bill of Rights.

Three: The Chief Justice is mentioned in the Constitution, but the number of Justices is not specified.

Two: Only one amendment to the Constitution has been repealed: the 18th (Prohibition).

One: The Constitution does not give us our rights and liberties, but it does guarantee them.

For more Constitution myth busting, read today’s blog post: http://go.usa.gov/D5kJ

The California Supreme Court has ruled that the silence of suspects can be used against them.

Wading into a legally tangled vehicular manslaughter case, a sharply divided high court on Thursday effectively reinstated the felony conviction of a man accused in a 2007 San Francisco Bay Area crash that left an 8-year-old girl dead and her sister and mother injured.

Richard Tom was sentenced to seven years in prison for manslaughter after authorities said he was speeding and slammed into another vehicle at a Redwood City intersection.

Prosecutors repeatedly told jurors during the trial that Tom’s failure to ask about the victims immediately after the crash but before police read him his so-called Miranda rights showed his guilt.

Legal analysts said the ruling could affect future cases, allowing prosecutors to exploit a suspect’s refusal to talk before invoking 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

"It’s a bad and questionable decision," said Dennis Fischer, a longtime criminal appellate lawyer.

Tom’s attorney Marc Zilversmit said he is deciding whether to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue or renew his arguments in the state court of appeal.

"It’s a very dangerous ruling," Zilversmit said. "If you say anything to the police, that can be used against you. Now, if you don’t say anything before you are warned of your rights, that too can be used against you."

The state Supreme Court in a 4-3 ruling said Tom needed to explicitly assert his right to remain silent — before he was read his Miranda rights — for the silence to be inadmissible in court.

http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/court-silence-can-be-used-against-suspects

Ferguson

White conservatives are constantly complaining about their constitutional rights being threatened, but I haven’t heard any conservative politician speak out against the Ferguson police force violating protesters’ 1st amendment right to peacefully protest. I guess the 1st amendment only applies to white people.

DECEMBER 15: THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS RATIFIED (1791)

On this day in 1791, Virginia ratified the Bill of Rights, allowing the United States Congress to add ten amendments to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights guaranteed for the first time individual rights. Among them are freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly.

The above image is part of the site for the PBS program “Liberty!" in which newspaper chronicles let you experience first-hand the excitement and uncertainty of the American Revolution as it happened. 

Test your knowledge on the American Revolution, and see if you can navigate your way to independence with the Road to Revolution game. 

                       

Suspicion of committing a crime should lead to your attempted prosecution. If the evidence does not support conviction, it would be against everything we believe in and fight for in America to still allow the government to imprison you at their whim. Tonight, a blow was struck to fight back against those who would take our liberty.
—  Sen. Rand Paul • In a statement about how he managed to kill an amendment that was likely to pass by voice vote — an amendment that would have clarified the ability for the U.S. government to hold detainees indefinitely while the War on Terror continued — by merely asking for a recorded vote on the matter. This was an awkward situation many in the Senate were trying to avoid, and as a result, the amendment lost resoundingly — with a 41-59 tally. If Paul hadn’t have spoken up, the bill would’ve received a voice vote and passed under the radar. Not bad,  Rand Paul. That’s a moment to put in the ‘ol resume. source (viafollow)
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