President Of The US “For A Day’
This reminded me of the film Mudalvan(tamil) where a TV reporter becomes the Chief Minister for a Day.
This actually happened.
The 20th Amendment provides that the President’s Term of Office ends on January 20, 2013 (though it doesn’t really say when it must begin). But what happens when the 20th falls on a Sunday, when an inauguration is impractical (or immoral, take your pick)?
Such is the case this year. As a precaution (overly abundant in light of what happened in 2009), the Chief Justice will administer the oath to the President on Sunday, January 20, prior to the actual inauguration on January 21.
Of course, what would happen if the President, perhaps due to religious convictions, refused to take the oath on a Sunday. Well it happened before, perhaps. Outgoing President James Polk’s term ended on Sunday, March 4, 1849. His successor, Zachary Taylor, refused to be sworn in on a Sunday. Same for incoming VP Millard Filmore.
So who was the President on Sunday, March 4, 1849?
Under the Presidential Succession statute at the time (the Presidential Succession Act of 1792), after the Vice President, the Senatore Pro Tempore was in line. Under this theory, Senator David Atchison of Missouri would have been the President for the Day. However, Atchinson, was the President Pro Temp during the Thirtieth Congress. This position expired when that Congress adjourned on March 4.
Athcinson was in fact sworn in as President Pro Tempore on Monday before either Taylor or Dallas took the oath, so in theory, he was President for a few minutes.
Alas, no one actually considers Atchinson to have been President. Except for his tombstone.