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By Freedom Writer
Anchorage, AK
JAN. 20. 2001

President George W. Bush has nominated 14 people of diverse backgrounds, ethnic origins, & sex. The strongly vocal opposition media campaign by some extreme "left" special interest groups to block some of the nominations will not succeed. History has been very favorable to a new President's cabinet nominations, with very few exceptions in 212 years. Let the "left" protest, peacefully, on Inauguration Day, to express their First Amendment rights, while we explore just who comprises this new Cabinet & what is it's significance.

The U.S. Constitution makes no mention of a cabinet. Only a slight mention of Presidential powers in Article II, Section 2 gives us:

"…he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices…"

In 1789, Congress established 3 departments - State, War, & Treasury - and the office of Attorney General. The first recorded meeting of the 3 secretaries was in 1791, which included the Vice-President. Later the attorney general & secretary of the Navy attended meetings. In 1907 a federal statute first used the term "cabinet". The last cabinet slot to be designated was the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in 1989.

The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 determines the order of replacing the President should the President & Vice-President die or become disqualified. This act superceded the Presidential Succession Act of 1886. The new law states the order is as follows:

Speaker of the House
President pro tempore of the Senate (in absence of of the Vice-President, this is chosen by the Senate)
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 & Human Services
Secretary of Housing & Urban Development
Secretary of Transportation
Secretary of Energy
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

This new law also states that a Cabinet member may not become acting President unless the member is a citizen & at least 35 years old. If the member who would logically succeed to the presidency is less than 35, then the presidency passes to the next eligible member.

The President appoints Cabinet members with the "advice & consent" of the Senate & may dismiss them at any time. The President calls Cabinet meetings & they usually take place weekly in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Former President Clinton rarely conducted Cabinet meetings. Cabinet members are legal officers of the federal government & carry out government policies & administer their departments. Cabinet members of an outgoing Presidency resign when a new President takes office so that the new President can bring in his own team.

Here are the Cabinet nominations for the new 43rd President - George W. Bush - in order of succession:

Secretary of State Colin Powell
Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Attorney General John Ashcroft
Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton
Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman
Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans
Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao
Secretary of Health & Human Services Tommy Thompson
Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Mel Martinez
Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta
Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham
Secretary of Education Roderick Paige
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi

These are men & women, of white, black, hispanic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, & Arab descent with experience in federal, state, & local governments & the private sector that comprise the most socially diverse Cabinet in U.S. history ­ a good reflection of how America looks ­ not tokenism, but expertise.

Let's hope that this new Administration returns the honor & dignity to our federal government which was missing during the Clinton-Gore years. While there may be an occasional raised eyebrow about some things in the past of some of these nominees (Powell with American soldiers as victims of chemical weapons during the Gulf War & Ashcroft with the Senate-passed unconstitutional provisions of the Methamphetamine Act of 1999), let's give them a good beginning to start solving the problems left unresolved during these past 8 years. Let's hope they will accomplish their slogan of "Bringing America Together".

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