Albert, Carl


House Speaker 1971-77, twice next in line of presidential succession after resignations of VP Agnew & President Nixon



Autograph ID: 5019
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1908-2000) Oklahoma US Rep (D) 1947-77, Speaker of the House 1971-77.

He entered the University of Oklahoma in 1927, and won the 1928 National Oratorical Championship, winning an all expense paid trip to Europe. Graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1931 then studied at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Bachelor of Civil Laws from St Peter’s College and practiced law in Oklahoma City in 1935. After WW II service with the Judge Advocate General Corps, he was elected to Congress in 1946. A Cold War liberal, he supported President Truman’s containment of Soviet expansionism and domestic measures like public housing, federal aid to education, and farm price supports.

He was appointed Majority Whip in 1955 and elected House Majority Leader in 1961. As Majority Leader, Albert was a key figure in advancing the Democratic House legislative agenda. After the Kennedy assassination, he worked to change House rules so that the majority Democrats would have greater influence on the final decisions of Congress which included more majority leverage over the House Rules Committee, and stronger majority membership influence in the House Ways and Means Committee. With these changes in place, Albert was able to push through Medicare, known as the Social Security Act of 1965, and he shepherded other pieces of Johnson’s Great Society program through Congress. He also chaired the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

When Speaker John W. McCormack retired in Jan. 1971, Albert was elected Speaker of the House. As the Watergate scandal developed in 1973, Albert, as Speaker, referred some two dozen impeachment resolutions to the House Judiciary Committee for debate and study. When Vice President Agnew resigned, Albert was next in line to assume the presidency, should that office become vacant. Had Nixon resigned without a sitting Vice President to succeed him, Albert would have become Acting President under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947. Agnew’s resignation was the 1st time since the ratification of the 25th Amendment in which it was possible for a member of one party to assume the presidency after a member of the opposing party vacated the office. As Speaker, Albert presided over the only body with the authority to impeach Nixon. He also had the authority to prevent any Vice Presidential confirmation vote from taking place in the House. In other words, Albert could have maneuvered to make himself Acting President. However, he concluded that, as a Democrat, he had no right to a Presidency that the American people had entrusted by election to a Republican. He later stated that if he had become Acting President by succession that it would be in the national interest to resign immediately after the House and Senate had confirmed a Republican Vice President. The Vice Presidency was vacant for about 7 weeks; Ford was confirmed and sworn in as VP in Dec. 1973.

The country again was confronted with the issue of presidential succession 8 months later when Nixon resigned Aug. 9, 1974, and the office of Vice President was again left vacant when Ford was sworn in as President that day. After Nelson Rockefeller was nominated by Ford, confirmed, and sworn into office as VP in December, the issue of Albert’s presidential succession was finally buried.

ISP, 10 x 8 b&w glossy helf-length portrait inscribed to a children’s charity likely while House Speaker.” IMAGE NOTE: discolorations are not on the item itself but from office lighting when image was taken.
Type: Photograph

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