The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Section 4 of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: “The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.” This provision simply says that Congress will decide how the House of Representatives and/or the House will proceed in case they have been tasked with choosing a President of Vice President and one of the candidates dies before a selection is made.
W. Cleon Skousen explained: “It will be recalled that in the event the House must select the President, it makes its choice from among the three top candidates. In the event one of these should die before the choice was made, there was no clear-cut procedure to guide the House from that point on. This provision enables the Congress to set up a procedure. It also authorizes the Congress to provide for a situation where two candidates are being considered for Vice President but the selection process is disrupted because one of them dies.
“All of this may seem somewhat technical, but should these circumstances actually arise, this provision could be of critical importance in transferring power from one administration to another.” (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 754.)