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September 27, 2005

President Cleavage, Part 2

Back in May, prompted by a Drudge promo for a new TV drama about Geena Davis, the first woman president, and by a photo of the actress displaying what is commonly known as cleavage, I posed what I think is an important constitutional question: Is a female president constitutionally permitted to show cleavage? I noted that had checked Article II of the Constitution and that it was silent on the issue.

The program, "Commander in Chief," which starts tonight, is based on the premise that the President dies, leaving Geena Davis, the Vice President to take over. She, being an independent, and not an evil Republican like the deceased President, is encouraged by the President's advisors to step aside in favor of the next-in-line Speaker of the House, also an evil Republican. The Speaker, though, is more than evil; he is terminally stupid and offends Geena by acting like the male troglodyte pig that he is. Geena, our heroine, is so incensed at this treatment that, damn it, she decides to do what the 25th Amendment already provides: succeed to the presidency and kick the living crap out of the Republicans.

Interestingly enough, given its neutral political outlook, the show has attracted the attention of even the Gray Lady herself, which illustrates its article on the show with a photo of the actress displaying what is commonly known as a sour puss but otherwise nothing in the cleavage category, at least so far as the eye can tell.

But since you never can trust the New York Times, I took the legal question to the White House Counsel's office. I was quickly referred to Attorney General Gonzales's office, which referred me like a hot potato to the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. There, I received the following constitutional opinion, to wit: "Huh?" After asserting my rights as a citizen, I received the following amended opinion: "It's permissible under Article II, so long as it does not constitute torture under international law." But how will I know? "It's a case-by-case analysis." Geena Davis? "Judge for yourself." I get it, I'll know it when I see it.

Now we're talking.

But before I could hang up the phone, my contact said, "You do know, don't you, that this matter could be directly affected by a case to be decided by the Supreme Court?" I said, "You don't mean . . . " My source: "Yes."

Today's ABC News reports: "US top court to hear Anna Nicole Smith's appeal." According to the petition for a writ of certiorari, Anna Nicole Smith claims that she is in line to succeed to the presidency if the 280 million or so Americans ahead of her in the line of succession should suddenly croak, and she wants the Supreme Court to reverse a decision of the Fourth Circuit that, if she became president, she could not constitutionally show cleavage like this:

There's still time to ask John Roberts to opine. In fact, there's still time to nominate Anna Nicole Smith herself. I'm sure she'd kick the living crap out of those evil Republicans on the court, just the way she did to her deceased husband.

UPDATE: Check out Outside the Beltway's Beltway Traffic Jam.