BY JOSHUA GOODMAN & RANDALL WOODS
What does a constitutional showdown in Venezuela over ailing President Hugo Chavez’s month-long absence have in common with an obscure 19th century U.S. vice president? Cuba, of course.
Venezuela’s Supreme Court cited William R. King’s delayed swearing in as the 13th vice president of the U.S. in a ruling today backing the government’s position that Chavez’s inauguration for a new term, scheduled to take place tomorrow, can be postponed until he recovers from cancer surgery in Cuba.
King was elected on the Democratic ticket with Franklin Pierce in 1852 and took the oath of office on March 24, 1853 — 20 days after the new government came to power — while being treated in Cuba for tuberculosis. Thanks to an act of Congress he was legally vice president for those three weeks before he swore in. The parallels with Chavez are thin, as King’s delayed inauguration on foreign soil was a tribute ... Read More