Providing an Order of Succession Within the Department of Justice

I find this order both routine and curiously interesting. It rescinds an order signed by President Obama less than a month previous (January 13, 2017.) As best I can tell, only two changes are made and they are in the U. S. States Attorneys listed in order of succession.

Obama’s order lists them in this order:

(a) United States Attorney for the District of Columbia;

(b) United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and

(c) United States Attorney for the Central District of California.

POTUS 45 has the same one as (b) but replaces the other two as follows:

(a)  United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia;

(b)  United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and

(c)  United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Not knowing anything about these particular attorneys, I don’t know what to make of this. It may well be the two additions are for some reason more preferable to this administration.

In practical application, because several Justice Department officers would all have to be dead or incapacitated simultaneously, the invoking of this – or any succession order – is such a remote possibility, it is probably not worth getting worked up about it.


In a news report by USA Today, I learned a bit more about this order. It turns out I was wrong about how unlikely the succession list would be needed.  In fact, currently all of the offices other than the newly appointed Attorney General are vacant. So the reason for the change of succession was POTUS 45’s decision upon firing the Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, to name Dana Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia to replace her. Thus the need to elevate him to the top spot behind the Attorney General.

In addition, one minor correction: The order was reportedly signed Thursday, so I changed my note below from ‘signed’ to ‘posted’ for accuracy.


Executive Order posted February 9, 2017.


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