I believe that Nancy Pelosi could be the first female president.
I’ll start with some background information, first.
In the event that the president is removed from office (by death, impeachment, resignation, etc.), someone must fill the position. The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 outlines who becomes president if the president is so removed.
First in line is the vice president, which is currently Dick Cheney. Second is the speaker of the house, which is Nancy Pelosi. Third, fourth, and fifth are the president pro tempore of the senate (Robert Byrd), the secretary of state (Condi Rice), and the secretary of the treasury (Henry Paulsen, Jr.), respectively. If you’re interested in the rest of the line of succession, read the article about it.
So, if President Bush were removed from office, Vice President Cheney would become president and he’d pick his own vice president (most likely not Nancy Pelosi since she’s a democrat and he’s a republican). If Cheney was removed from his office before he could make the appointment, or his appointed person was removed along with Cheney, the speaker of the house would become president. Thus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female president.
So how does the United States go about removing President Bush and VP Cheney nearly simultaneously?
Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney filed articles of impeachment, which you should have read if you really want to understand the rest of my post, on 27 December 2006, the last day the 109th Congress was in session. This means that the articles are on file in the congressional record, but are not able to be voted on by the 110th Congress.
Fmr. Rep. McKinney charged in her articles of impeachment not only President Bush, but VP Cheney and Sec. of State Rice and others. The likelihood of impeaching all of them together is very slim, as the charges aren’t as clear against Cheney et alia. However, if all impeachment efforts are focused on President Bush, it’s very, very likely that Cheney et al. will be implicated and eventually charged with like crimes as the impeachment trial against President Bush progresses.
However, Pelosi, then-minority leader of the house, said in a 60 Minutes interview that impeachment was "off the table" and that it wouldn’t be considered by the new House. She told this to her caucus in May.
So, following typical House dynamics, in which members of the speaker’s party do what the speaker says, no democrat will initiate impeachment proceedings. Of course, no republican will attempt to impeach a republican president.
So how can impeachment still happen?
There’s a little-known and rarely-used clause in Jefferson’s Manual, a guide to parliamentary procedure found in the Rules of the House of Representatives, which states that any citizen can initiate the impeachment proceedings. Now, this initiation still must go to the House, but the fact that a regular citizen can do this is pretty amazing.
This section reads:
In the House of Representatives there are various methods of setting an impeachment in motion: by charges made on the floor on the responsibility of a Member or Delegate (II, 1303; III, 2342, 2400, 2469; VI, 525, 526, 528, 535, 536); by charges preferred by a memorial, which is usually referred to a committee for examination (III, 2364, 2491, 2494, 2496, 2499, 2515; VI, 552); or by a resolution dropped in the hopper by a Member and referred to a committee (April 15, 1970, p. 11941-2); by a message from the President (III, 2294, 2319; VI, 498); by charges transmitted from the legislature of a State (III, 2469) or Territory (III, 2487) or from a grand jury (III, 2488); or from facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House (III, 2399, 2444).
The key part of this clause this the phrase "by charges preferred by a memorial, which is usually referred to a committee for examination," which essentially translates from legalese to "by charges brought against an elected official by a petition and accompanying statement of facts to be examined by a committee."
There are lot of efforts convince Congress to impeach President Bush, but this particular method was brought to my attention by Jodin Morey of Impeach for Peace. I find it fascinating and effective—in the 1820s, a St. Louis lawyer initiated impeachment proceedings against a federal court judge, who was later acquitted.
I’m not going to say that this is the best method, or that "it’s going to work", but I will say that it is certainly a broad avenue on which the masses can march.
I believe that there will not be a female president until there has been a female vice president, unless there is a woman in the line of succession and all of the people before her are removed.
Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman in modern times to come close to being in a position to be president by being a candidate for vice president, but then she and 1984 presidential candidate Walter Mondale were defeated in a landslide victory by Ronald Reagan.
Nancy Pelosi is in the perfect position to become president: the president could take a fall, and his vice president could fall with him. With that, Pelosi becomes president, the United States of America gets its first female president, and the democrats have a two-term introduction to the next at least four years of presidential power.