President Joe Biden’s decision-making has once again come under the microscope as questions arise regarding the correct interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. The spotlight is on the unexpected elevation of a temporary Cabinet-level official, acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, into the presidential line of succession.
Republican Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama didn’t mince her words. She sharply criticized the move, indicating that it skirts the edges of the Constitution. Sen. Britt, a Senate Rules Committee member and an attorney, emphasized that Su still needs to receive Senate confirmation.
“The Biden Administration continues to attempt to rule by unilateral decree rather than govern with the advice and consent of Congress,” said Britt. She further expressed concern over Su’s support within the Senate, implying a lack of backing from her own party for the Secretary of Labor position. Britt conveyed alarm over the potential for Su to rapidly transition from her acting role to the presidency, especially when the Senate hasn’t confirmed her for her current position.
According to the official White House website, should an unprecedented sequence of events occur that incapacitates President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and seven other Cabinet officials, Su is ninth in line to assume the presidency. It’s worth noting that this places the acting labor secretary above significant figures such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The senator underscored that a Cabinet member is eligible to assume the presidency “only if they are an officer ‘appointed, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.'”
Sen. Britt, joined by 29 Senate colleagues, expressed their “grave concerns” in a letter directed at the president. The letter emphasized the power of Congress, as per the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, to determine the presidential line of succession after the Vice President. They reminded Biden of the ongoing reluctance of the Senate to confirm Su’s nomination and highlighted the need for his decision-making to align with congressional intent.
They called out what they perceive as Biden’s overreach: “It is unimaginable to think that this Administration believes someone who has neither been duly elected nor confirmed by the Senate to the position of Secretary of Labor could be President of the United States.”
The senators called on President Biden to reconsider his nomination of Su, suggesting the need for a candidate who could garner bipartisan Senate support.
This is not a personal attack on Su but a reminder that Biden’s use of executive orders must be curbed.