President pro tempore of the United States Senate
|President Pro Tempore of |
the United States Senate
(Informal and within the Senate)
|Appointer||Elected by the U.S. Senate|
|Inaugural holder||John Langdon|
April 6, 1789
March 4, 1789
The president pro tempore (/ / or / /), or president pro tem, of the United States Senate is the longest serving senator from the majority political party in the United States Senate. According to the Constitution, this is the fourth highest office in the United States. It is the third in the U.S. presidential line of succession (behind the vice president and the speaker of the House). Many state senates also use the office of President pro tem.
Officially the vice president is the person in charge of the Senate, but they are not a Senator. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is the president pro tempore. When the vice president cannot be in charge, the president pro tempore is in charge of the Senate. Many people still think of the president pro tempore as de facto president of the Senate. Benjamin Wade was only one vote away from becoming the president of the United States due to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. No president pro tempore has taken over the presidency as of March 2020.
Probably the most famous presidents pro tempore were John Langdon (first in this office), David Rice Atchison (D-MO), Benjamin Wade (R-OH), Arthur Vandenberg (R-MI), Carl Hayden (D-AZ) Richard Russell, Jr. (D-GA), Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
When Senator Hubert Humphrey, a former vice president, was seriously ill, the Senate showed its respect for him by creating the office of Deputy President Pro tempore for any former president or vice president who is elected to the Senate. No vice president since Humphrey has done this.
President pro tempore emeritus[change | change source]
- Strom Thurmond (R-South Carolina) (2001-2003)
- Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) (2003-2007)
- Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) (2007-2009)
- Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) (2015-2021)
- Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) (since 2021)
References[change | change source]
- "Pro tempore Legal Definition". Lawyers.com.
- "Bill Text, 110th Congress (2007-2008), S.RES.6.ATS". Library of Congress. Retrieved 26 January 2015.[permanent dead link]