In the United States a person doesn't actually need to be a member of the House of Representatives to be the Speaker of the House. I'm wondering if it is legal (i.e. constitutional) for a sitting Senator to be named Speaker of the House and remain a Senator.

And if so, would such a person automatically be in the normal succession order for the presidency? The normal order of succession is the Vice-President followed by the Speaker of the House, followed by others.

  • It would be interesting if the Senator in question were also President pro tempore of the Senate, putting him both 3rd and 4th in succession. If the VP (who is normally President of the Senate) were also Speaker of the House, he's also appear twice in the succession, though not consecutively.
    – user2565
    Nov 26, 2017 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


The text of the constitution only requires that the House chuse a speaker. It places no limit on who the house can pick. It only requires that Senators satisfy certain age and citizenship requirements, and doesn't prevent the House Speaker from being a Senator.

However there are common law restrictions on the holding of dual offices. See Dual Office Holding--Federal, State and Municipal, for example. Where the holding of two offices would cause an incompatibility, such appointments are forbidden.

The constitution does not specify the role of the Speaker, though it appears to be modelled on the Speaker of the House of Commons, the position soon diverged. The Speaker in the UK is an apolitical role, and the Speaker is expected to show strict impartiality, but by the early part of the 19th century, the Speaker in the USA was already becoming a political and party political position.

In practice, the Speaker chairs debates in the House, and the Speaker is chosen from among the Representatives. This is an example of how the constitution of the USA is more than the Constitution of the USA. There are constitutional practices and rules that are not present in the text of the constitution.

The law on Presidential Succession would continue to apply even if a Senator were appointed to House Speaker. The Speaker of the House would become President if both the incumbent President and the Vice President were removed. In doing so, they would resign from their current role(s).


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