Obama’s Eligibility and 3 USC 19

08 Dec

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama (Photo credit: acaben)

As I explained previously (“Obama’s Eligibility and the 20th Amendment”), the 20th Amendment (ratified A.D. 1933) to The Constitution of the United States includes three references to a presidential “qualification” process.

This qualification process apparently takes place between the time when a presidential candidate is elected (last November 6th) and becomes “President elect” and the date when he is inaugurated (next January 21st) and becomes the President.

The purpose of the qualification procedure is to determine if the man who won the November election is actually qualified and therefore eligible to become the President in January.  If the qualification procedure determines the President elect is not qualified to become President, the Vice President will be appointed to take over.

One problem is that this qualification process appears to apply only to the President elect and may therefore take place only during the 75-day interval between the November election and the January inauguration.  In other words, if President elect Obama weren’t actually qualified to assume the office of President, we might only have a 75-day window of opportunity to challenge his qualifications.

My problem is that while the 20th Amendment clearly implicates some sort of qualification process, I have so far failed to find any law indicating what authority conducts the qualification procedure, or what the qualifications are.  I presume that the “qualifications” may be the age and citizenship requirements listed in the Constitution.

Although I’ve only searched to discover this qualification process superficially, it seems strange that I’ve not yet found any law that identifies the qualification authority or specifies whatever qualifications must be met.

•  However, I have found 3 U.S.C. §19 which refers to the presidential qualification process nine times—but doesn’t tell us what authority conducts that process or what qualifications are required.  Thus, we appear to have a constitutional authority (20th Amendment) and a statutory authority (3 U.S.C. §19) for conducting a “qualification” process—but I can’t find anything to tell me who conducts that qualification process or what qualifications must be met.

•  Here’s 3 U.S.C. §19:

Title 3 of the United States Codes is entitled “The president” (

Chapter 1 of Title 3 is entitled “Presidential elections and vacancies” (

Chapter 1 of Title 3 has 21 sections including Section 19 (3 U.S.C. §19) which is entitled “Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act” (  The text of 3 U.S.C. §19 follows with my added [bold, bracketed comments]:


(1) 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.

[The man who “acts” as President may be a “de facto” President rather than a man who is a constitutionally-qualified, de jure President.]


(2) The same rule shall apply in the case of the death, resignation, removal from office, or inability of an individual acting as President under this subsection.

(b) If, at the time when under subsection (a) of this section a Speaker is to begin the discharge of the powers and duties of the office of President, there is no Speaker, or the Speaker fails to qualify as Acting President, then the President pro tempore of the Senate shall, upon his resignation as President pro tempore and as Senator, act as President.

[Insofar as the Speaker of the House must be “qualified” to become President but has not received any Electoral College votes to do so, Electoral College votes cannot be part of the “qualifications” to become President.  This implies that the Electoral College has nothing to do with determining whether a President elect is “qualified” to become President.  If so, then the authority able or charged with performing the qualification procedure should be either 1) the House of Representatives; 2) the Senate; or 3) the Supreme Court.]   

(c) An individual acting as President under subsection (a) or subsection (b) of this section shall continue to act until the expiration of the then current Presidential term, except that –

(1) if his discharge of the powers and duties of the office is founded in whole or in part on the failure of both the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect to qualify, then he shall act only until a President or Vice President qualifies; and

[I have a hard time imagining the scenario represented by subsection (c)(1).  It appears that under this scenario, there was a qualified President who was removed by resignation, impeachment or death.  An Acting President was appointed to fill the office, but that Acting President would relinquish that office as soon as a new President or Vice President was qualified to hold the office. 

Note that this de facto, “Acting President” is not to be replaced at the end of his term by a newly-elected and qualified President or Vice President.  This de facto, “Acting President” is to be replaced during his term by an individual who somehow “qualifies” to be President in the midst of an existing term of office.

How can that be?  There is no proviso for emergency presidential elections.  How can a man who wasn’t elected to the presidency somehow “qualify” to be President during an on-going presidential term and while there is an otherwise acceptable de facto President in office?]

(2) if his discharge of the powers and duties of the office is founded in whole or in part on the inability of the President or Vice President, then he shall act only until the removal of the disability of one of such individuals.

[The inability to perform the duties of the office of President is not equivalent to being unqualified to perform those duties.  For example a President may need heart surgery.  While he’s in the operating room and the recovery room, he will be unable to perform the duties of his office.  During that disability, the Vice President will become the “Acting President”.  As soon as the President recovers from his operation, his disability will be removed and he will reassume the office of President.]


(1) If, by reason of death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, there is no President pro tempore to act as President under subsection (b) of this section, then the officer of the United States who is highest on the following list, and who is not under disability to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President shall act as President: Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Secretary of Homeland Security.

(2) An individual acting as President under this subsection shall continue so to do until the expiration of the then current Presidential term, but not after a qualified and prior-entitled individual is able to act, except that the removal of the disability of an individual higher on the list contained in paragraph (1) of this subsection or the ability to qualify on the part of an individual higher on such list shall not terminate his service.

(3) The taking of the oath of office by an individual specified in the list in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be held to constitute his resignation from the office by virtue of the holding of which he qualifies to act as President.

[By taking the oath of office to be President, a man thereby resigns from his previous office as Vice President, Speaker of the House, etc..]

(e) Subsections (a), (b), and (d) of this section shall apply only to such officers as are eligible to the office of President under the Constitution. Subsection (d) of this section shall apply only to officers appointed, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, prior to the time of the death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, of the President pro tempore, and only to officers not under impeachment by the House of Representatives at the time the powers and duties of the office of President devolve upon them.

(f) During the period that any individual acts as President under this section, his compensation shall be at the rate then provided by law in the case of the President.

[The possibility of “failure to qualify” applies to all of the other individuals on the “list” who hold public office but have not been elected to be (not merely “act as”) the President. 

I presume that the qualifications referenced at 3 USC 19 may be the same for all Presidents elect and all prospective “acting Presidents”.  If so, then the “qualifications” that apply to President elect and Vice President elect do not include the votes from the Electoral College.  I.e., the various persons eligible to become “acting President” include the Speaker of the House of Representative, the Senate’s President Pro Tempore, and then the list of cabinet officers—not one of which has received any votes from the Electoral College.  Therefore and again, it appears that the Electoral College is probably not the “authority” responsible for determining if the President elect “qualifies” to become the President. 

This implies that the probable authority for “qualifying” the President elect is the House, Senate or Supreme Court.

Again, while 3 USC 19 refers to “qualify” at least nine times, I have still failed to discover what those qualifications may be and who is responsible to determining whether a President elect is or is not “qualified”. 

I’ve only searched superficially, so my failure to learn more about presidential “qualifications” proves nothing.

But I begin to wonder if there may be no statutory qualifications to become President.  Maybe there were statutory qualifications prior to A.D. 1948 or prior to A.D. 1933 (when the 20th Amendment was ratified), but—maybe—those qualifications have since been repealed as have any statutes telling us who is responsible for “qualifying” the President elect and how the qualification procedure takes place.

It’s conceivable that a “failure to qualify” text in the Constitution may have been “created” by 20th Amendment in A.D. 1933, but Congress had so far failed to implement that “qualification” process with statutes.

I wonder if there’s a qualification process spelled out in the Articles of Confederation and which would apply to the President of The United States of America rather than the President of the United States.

As the King of Siam told Anna, “It is a puzzlement”.  Actually, it just might be evidence of a very interesting constitutional puzzlement.  I.e., it’s possible that the constitutional requirement found in the 20th Amendment (ratified A.D. 1933) may have never been statutorily implemented.   If so, as unlikely as it sounds, it might be that no President in my considerable lifetime has ever been subjected to a “qualification” procedure to find out if he’s really eligible to hold the office of President.  If so, we might wonder how many other “unqualified” Presidents (besides Obama) have occupied the White House. 


•  If any of you would like to investigate further, you might find some clues in the following text from the “CRS ANNOTATED CONSTITUTION” at

Which reads,


“Pursuant to the authority conferred upon it by Sec. 3 of this amendment, Congress shaped the Presidential Succession Act of 1948 5 to meet the situation which would arise from the failure of both President elect and Vice President elect to qualify on or before the time fixed for the beginning of the new Presidential term.”

5 Ch. 644, 62 Stat. 672 , as amended, 3 U.S.C. Sec. 19 . See also the Twenty–fifth Amendment, infra, pp. 1991–93.”


Posted by on December 8, 2012 in 2012 Election, Obama


Tags: , , ,

17 responses to “Obama’s Eligibility and 3 USC 19

  1. NH

    December 8, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    I can’t wait till December 15th, when we find out who our next President will be…

    December 15, 2008 – Meeting of Electors:
    The electors in each State meet to select the President and Vice President of the United States. The electors record their votes on six “Certificates of Vote,” which are paired with the six remaining original “Certificates of Ascertainment.” The electors sign, seal and certify the packages of electoral votes and immediately send them to the Federal and State officials listed in these instructions.

  2. TA

    December 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Perhaps since there’s no statutory qualification procedure, there is thus no way of actually qualifying the president for his office, thereby nullifying the age and citizen requirements. Afterall, if no one can enforce it, what good is it being on the books.

  3. Buck

    December 8, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    I do remember a short blurb on the news, just after Obama’s first election. The talking head mentioned that the CIA is concluding Obama’s background investigation, i believe she said it was for national security. She framed it in a casual tone saying it was a routine procedure. This was before the inauguration.

    There is a blog post i saw im trying to remember where, but it had both copies of the DNC certification of Obama’s eligibility forms. The first form certifies Obama is a natural born citizen, in the second form for this election AD 2012, the citizen information was omitted. one of the signers on each form to certify eligibility was Nancy Pelosi.

    I will try to locate copies of each form. Im trying to remember where the hell that was. The notary was in Colorado on each form. Ill keep thinking to remember.

    • dakota dingo

      December 9, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      Those forms are accessible on website.. they have a running score on the whole nefarious ordeal. Changed ‘certification of qualification’ papers, and different paperwork sent to Hawaii, than to the remainder of the states. The docs they submitted to the DNC election committee (I may not be using the proper description here, but the whole thing is at WND) to certify the CANDIDATE Obama, was changed from it’s original wording, from “the candidate meets all the requirements” to “we certify the candidate”. Go figure.

      Plus, Obama’s legal colleagues were doing research on “methods of circumventing citizenship requirements for presidential candidate” prior to his entering the race. Go figure.

      And Obama has NUMEROUS SS numbers attached to his name, and the media is completely mute on the subject. You wanna try that, and run for a Federal office, or pass a FBI background check? They’d be all over it like flies on s***. Go figure.

      We are screwed, and our selected officials are part of the coverup. They have violated their oaths, and have participated in crimes against the People. They have violated their Fiduciary duty to the Trust holders, the People. Go figure!

      Go figure, and then QUIT COMPLYING. RESIST. File charges.

      some resources:

      and I would also recommend people start following the Rod Class team discussions and paperwork on the Talkshoe 48361 channel. Rod is not the most eloquent orator, but once you get past that, he is doing as much or more than most, to get to the heart of the problem, and making a path toward remedy. A casual listener who discounts him because of his speech will miss the value of what he is doing. Just sayin’. Get past it, and start learning, and DOING.

  4. Buck

    December 8, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Ok here is the article with the DNC forms

    Its in Canada of all places!

  5. Buck

    December 8, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Both forms are apparently from AD2008. But the point is information is omitted on the second form. It would be interesting to locate the certification for AD 2012.

    • Yartap

      December 8, 2012 at 4:26 PM


  6. steveperk

    December 8, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    I have a question for you. How can he still be in office. With all of this over his birth bull shit why is he still in office. We have two sets of rules one for the haves and one set for the have not’s. This is not America. This is for the rich only we are all screwed. I am fed up with this country. The rich have destroyed this country. The ones in office should be all locked up and all of their stolen wealth taken away from all of them to include family members. They call it the Rule of Law huh they rule and they make the laws against we the poor bastards (people) Everything I was ever told when I was grown up even going through school was a fraud and a lie. Even when I went to Vietnam was a lie. And for what a LIE. GOD knows all of this yet he stands by. CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME!!!!!!

    • Adask

      December 8, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      I see it all as a test of faith. If it were easy, there’d be no real “test”.

      If I were looking for a central answer to the questions you’ve asked, I’d start looking from the perspective that the “love of money is the root of all evil”. No one acquires and keeps “big” money who doesn’t really love it above all else. Those greedy bastards are close to the heart of the injustice you’ve seen.

      I can’t explain it to you, but it’s been going on for several thousand years. It’s not likely to end until the Messiah returns. We can fight it, we can resist it, but not many of us are likely to fully understand it in this life.

      • Jose Linares

        December 9, 2012 at 11:53 AM


        How about for a moment just in somber contemplation we break away from the mold and consider what if there is no Messiah. Yet, Truth persists just the same, principles still hold, gravity still pulls.

        What I am trying to say is, what is the religious concept of God is limited, very limited, as to the potential that we as Man have a responsibility, an obligation, to explore before throwing in the towel and saying let God sort it out.

        We see the present world within our own contexts, but what if we step back and consider it from what we could foreign or alien perspectives, for example, what if our technology was to advance so much nothing is physically written anymore, what if all communication was to become wireless and all communication devices embedded within our bodies…?

        Would principles change then, our would our sense of Justice would still hold…?

        What about our concept of God…?

  7. Kerry

    December 8, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Well, I think this is all about plain evil. I wouldn’t expect you all to agree with me, but I fight Destruction and for all that is good. I have no fear as I am not alone. But, as sure as evil exists, so does the Father. Obama reminds me of a magician, no matter how closely you watch his hands, you can never see the trick. I, personally have been taking his man on for more than a year. He is just a bully. At one point, i started receiving a couple of calls – in a “menancing” low voice (it wasn’t menancing to to me – I thought it was kind of funny), he offered $100,000 which I assume was in an effort to get me off his back. I can’t be bribed. And, it became quite personal – trying to steal my God, my Country, my Freedoms, etc. I did send the information regarding Amendment 20 to the The Heritage Foundation, but they don’t work on Saturday – I couldn’t even get through to the Media part of the The Heritage. I emailed the senior legal authority with the information. I also refered the same information to Congressman Allen West since it was his State that was also pursing this a bit. No matter what you think of Allen West, he is one dedicated man to this Country that will go through Hell and Brimstone to get the job done. He is truthful and a man-of-action there is no doubt. He is a leader and he fought hard as his election shall we say was “fixed.” The problem, of course, not that it couldn’t be proven because there were thousands and thousands of illegal votes – you know dead people voting. But, you can’t sustain that kind of fight because of the expensive legal entanglements. That was the only reason that it did not get completed as well as the fact that those counting the votes were so slow … they knew if they just stalled a few more hours, Florida law would shut it down which they did. But, prior to that, the figures were changing all over and not just his district either – it was found to be widespread in the areas that were required by law to do a recount. This issue of President Obama may be very much the same. Time will run out before a decision can be reached, and Obama will once again have access to all taxpayer’s money for his defense. Also, Ryan Paul was also informed of this issue as well. Of course, he said Obama was “uniquely unqualified” – no doubt about that. So, I probably won’t know anything until Monday and even then nothing will be determined until they determine what, when, where, who, etc. But, at least they can reach out to those with the money to support it. So, Pray or not, and keep your fingers crossed. From my point of view, it is God Help Us.

  8. pop de adam

    December 10, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    This is perhaps entirely unrelated to anything mentioned here, however I find it rather compelling.

    In regards to:

    of, office, official, officer.

    “Of” is a portion held distinct from the whole?

    Official is a holder of an office?

    Multiple agents may or might be combined to create an entity or an entirety?

    We know an officer is an agent? Are these agents considered fractions of the whole?

    Is Al of Texas an office of Texas? An officer of texas? Is there such a thing as an Officer of Office?

    An Office of Officers?

    Sir John of Hampshire?

    This word “of” is a curious thing.


  9. kansascase

    December 10, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Well, I am even more disappointed. I am a member of the The Heritage Foundation, and they tried their best to brush me off as a “Conservative Loon or a Conservative Conspiracy party.” Although what I made them do – read it – it did seem to have some merit, however, that was not the path that they would be taking. Tell me again what part of the Constitution doesn’t involve Heritage? What in the Hell is wrong with these people? What, exactly are they afraid of – losing money, losing jobs, going to jail, etc. And, do you know what I have to say about that – so what. Exactly, just what is more important to you? Think, reason, common sense, Obama’s behavior, the UN, Agenda 21, debt, deficit, massive spending, tax increases. That equals to no jobs, no money, no goods, I even got a bit gruff because, apparently they can’t see beyond last night’s date.What is it going to take for People to listen? NO FREEDOMS – GONE. But, I don’t give up that easy. I have the tenacity of a pit bull and the determination as well. I have fought much harder fights than this. I did get the name of a group that might be more interested as they are Constitutional lawyers – the Federalist Society. I will give them just a few hours and then I am going to Michael Reagan. And, before this day is done, I will be going back to The Heritage Foundation and have some more words. Then, I will go to my Fox newspaper friends, and I will cause a stir – I promise. They have ticked me off now.

    • Adask

      December 10, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Great. I’m delighted. Funny what it takes to motivate people. ‘Tis an ill wind that blows no good, hmm?

      • kansascase

        December 10, 2012 at 11:57 AM

        Yeah, but, they do not know me. You see, I fight Destruction and for all that is good. I have no fear as I am not alone. Some people do have “callings” in Life. Now, you think I am nut. No, I’ve a lot of years – 58 – and I Love this Country and its Freedom. My family came from England in 1635 as Puritans and settled here. It is my heritage too. I will not wear a Burka – I would rather die.

  10. Flatwood

    December 16, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    “Natural born Citizen” DOES NOT mean the same thing TODAY as it “originally” did. “”Appropriate Legislation” has taken care of this problem. The change could not have been done via “the necessary & proper power clause but the “appropriate legislation” power clause supercedes the necessary & proper power clause. See what “Judge L.H. Perez” has to say. & remember, fraud begets fraud.

  11. Flatwood

    December 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Hey, Jose,
    @……consider what if there is no Messiah.Yet,Truth persists just the same, principles still hold, gravity still pulls.

    IF there was no Messiah, none of the above would exist.


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