United States Order of Precedence

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The United States order of precedence is a nominal and symbolic hierarchy of important positions within the United States government. The order is established by the President of the United States and can be changed by the President. It has no legal standing (for example, it does not reflect the United States presidential line of succession), and is instead used to dictate ceremonial protocol.

The order of precedence of the United States of America as of 2005

  1. President of the United States (George W. Bush) and First Lady (Laura Bush) (if present)
  2. Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate (Richard B. Cheney)
  3. Governor (in his state)
  4. Mayor (in his city)
  5. Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (Dennis Hastert)
  6. Chief Justice of the United States (William Rehnquist)
  7. Former Presidents of the United States (in order of term):
    1. Gerald Ford
    2. Jimmy Carter
    3. George H. W. Bush
    4. Bill Clinton
  8. American ambassadors (at their post)
  9. Secretary of State (Condoleezza Rice)
  10. Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of foreign states
  11. Widows of former Presidents of the United States
    1. Lady Bird Johnson
    2. Nancy Reagan
  12. Ministers of foreign powers
  13. Associate Justices of the Supreme Court (in order of appointment):
    1. John Paul Stevens
    2. Sandra Day O'Connor (Announced retirement, effective upon confirmation of successor)
    3. Antonin Scalia
    4. Anthony Kennedy
    5. David Souter
    6. Clarence Thomas
    7. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    8. Stephen Breyer
  14. Retired Chief Justices (None living)
  15. Retired Associate Justices of the Supreme Court (None living, but see Sandra Day O'Connor, above)
  16. Members of the United States Cabinet:
    1. Secretary of the Treasury (John W. Snow)
    2. Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld)
    3. Attorney General (Alberto Gonzales)
    4. Secretary of the Interior (Gale Norton)
    5. Secretary of Agriculture (Mike Johanns)
    6. Secretary of Commerce (Carlos Gutierrez)
    7. Secretary of Labor (Elaine Chao)
    8. Secretary of Health and Human Services (Michael O. Leavitt)
    9. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (Alphonso Jackson)
    10. Secretary of Transportation (Norman Mineta)
    11. Secretary of Energy (Samuel W. Bodman)
    12. Secretary of Education (Margaret Spellings)
    13. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Jim Nicholson)
    14. Secretary of Homeland Security (Michael Chertoff)
  17. White House Chief of Staff (Andrew Card)
  18. Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Joshua B. Bolten)
  19. Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (Porter J. Goss)
  20. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (Anne W. Patterson, acting ambassador)
  21. President Pro Tempore of the Senate (Ted Stevens)
  22. Senators (by length of term served)
  23. Governors of the States when outside home states (by order of admission of State to Union)
  24. Acting heads of executive departments
  25. Former Vice-Presidents of the United States:
    1. Walter Mondale
    2. Dan Quayle
    3. Al Gore
  26. Members of the United States House of Representatives (by length of term served)
  27. Non-voting delegates to the House of Representatives
  28. Governor of Puerto Rico (Aníbal Acevedo Vilá)
  29. National Security Advisor (Stephen Hadley)
  30. Counsellors and Assistants to the President
  31. Charges d'Affaires of Foreign Countries
  32. Deputy Secretaries of Executive Departments
  33. Solicitor General (Currently vacant)
  34. Administrator of the Agency for International Development
  35. Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  36. Under Secretaries of State and Counsels
  37. Under Secretaries of Executive Departments
  38. U.S. Ambassadors at Large
  39. Secretaries of the Armed Forces:
    1. Secretary of the Army (Francis J. Harvey)
    2. Secretary of the Navy (Gordon England)
    3. Secretary of the Air Force (Currently vacant)
  40. Postmaster General (John E. Potter)
  41. Chairman of the Federal Reserve (Alan Greenspan)
  42. Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality
  43. Chairman of the United States Export-Import Bank
  44. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Richard Myers)
  45. Under Secretaries of Defense
  46. Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (Peter Pace)
  47. Chiefs of Staff of the Four Services (in order of appointment):
    1. Chief of Naval Operations (Vern Clark)
    2. Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force (John Jumper)
    3. Commandant of the Marine Corps (Michael W. Hagee)
    4. Chief of Staff of the United States Army (Peter Schoomaker)
  48. Commandant of the Coast Guard (Thomas H. Collins)
  49. Commanders-in-Chief of Unified and Specified Commands of Four-Star Grade
  50. Generals of the Army and Fleet Admirals (None living)
  51. Lieutenant Governors of the States (by admission of State to Union)

External link

  • Order of Precedence from the Office of the Mayor of City of New York
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