Twenty-fifth Amendment

The 25th amendment was enacted in 1967.  Sections 1 and 2 were meant to create a clear line of succession after events such as the assassination of President Kennedy. Section 3 allows the Vice President to take over at the President’s request when he or she can’t do the job. This was motivated by memories of President Eisenhower’s heart attack on September 24, 1955. Section 4 allows for the unusual situation when the Vice President and his/her Cabinet judge the president is incapable.  It correctly requires a very demanding set of conditions. Here they are, as set out in the Constitution (italics and underlining are ours):

“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.
     
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days 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. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by a two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.”

Learn more:

« Back to Glossary Index

Leave a Reply