25 January 2017

The 25th amendment can be invoked to remove an incompetent President

The 25th Amendment was added to the Constitution after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and provides for the replacement of the vice president if the office becomes vacant. (So it led indirectly to the presidency of Gerald Ford, the only American president who was never elected to any national office.) But Section 4 is about something else entirely:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
A temporary transfer of power has happened a handful of times since the Kennedy assassination, once when Ronald Reagan had cancer surgery and twice when George W. Bush underwent colonoscopies. Most people have thought of the 25th Amendment as a way to deal with a president who has had a heart attack or a stroke and has become incapacitated, as Woodrow Wilson did, with his wife effectively assuming the duties of the presidency for the remainder of his term.

But the language of the amendment clearly encompasses other scenarios besides physical incapacitation. This topic was a subject of discussion toward the end of the Reagan administration, when it became obvious that the president was suffering a loss of cognitive ability. It wasn’t evoked then but as we now know, Reagan was indeed suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Had it become more acute or more obvious while he was in office, Congress might well have had to take action as laid out in the amendment.
Note that with the current composition of Congress, this is an action that could only be implemented by Republicans.  More at Salon.

11 comments:

  1. I'm pretty sure Ford was elected to the House of Representatives, which would count a national office, wouldn't it?

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  2. They've started building for impeachment, and the ACLU is suing. The madman is in charge of the asylum.

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  4. Sorry — too many typos in the first comment. Gerald ford served in Congress for 25 years including a stint as house minority leader. He was depicted as clumsy, but was very politically astute.

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  5. I don't see how this can work. Trump appoints all members of the cabinet and can fire them if he suspects they're trying this. It also requires a 2/3 vote in both houses of congress to sustain. It adds up to being harder to do than outright impeaching him.

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  6. Clearly he's delusional. He consistently ignores facts, and insists that he is right.

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  7. Salon: George Soros funded site.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, and the 2 million protestors worldwide on 1/21 were all individually paid by Soros himself!

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    2. Hey, I went to one of the marches last week and nobody paid me. Where do I apply for reimbursement?

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