PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION: This Bruce Ackerman piece seems pretty thinly sourced. The subject needs more attention, but this has the ring of conspiracy theory about it: Some people say there might be a secret executive order that might be contrary to statute. Also, some people say that Chinese policemen are massing on the Mexican border for an invasion. You can look it up!

Could Bruce be right? Possibly, if all the public statements on the subject are lies. Could they be? Again, possibly, but some, you know, hard evidence would be useful. It seems unlikely to me — competing claims of succession at a time when both the Vice President and President are dead would be devastating, and I doubt anyone would set things up that way. Then again, this is all government work we’re talking about . . . .

UPDATE: James Joyner: “Bruce Ackerman has read a novel and heard unsubstantiated rumors and from these concocted a Constitutional crisis which he’s convinced the folks at Slate to publish.”

MORE: Bob Krumm emails:

Instead of imagining constitutional crises in the executive branch, Flight 93’s reported target of the Capitol Building should remind us that there’s a potential real constitutional crisis. The House of Representatives, which cannot operate without a quorum, and unlike the Senate has no provision for quick replacement appointments, could cripple the operations of our government in the event of the loss of half of its membership. Another 9-11, or worse, a 9-11 followed by a military attack on US interests, would leave America in a quandary if the House was unable to operate. Since it is in the House that spending bills have to originate, the US would be Constitutionally unable to authorize additional funds required to respond to the attack. Under current rules we would literally have to wait until after more than 200 individual elections were completed.