The twenty-fifth amendment and sedition have been getting a lot of attention after the events of January 6, 2021. If you are curious about either, we provide definitions below.
The 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.”
Here is a prophetic essay written by FindLaw on February 20, 2019:
Suppose that over the course of a few months, a small band of armed militants has coordinated strategies to distribute firearms and take over the nation’s capital by force through a website on the clandestine “deep web.” All indications show that the group is dead serious in its intentions, but they’re thwarted by an FBI investigation that leads to arrests. While sharing information and discussing ideas — even distasteful ones — is generally protected as free speech, the FBI believes this crosses the line. The alleged ringleaders of the plot are charged with “seditious conspiracy” (simply referred to as “sedition”), a federal crime related to treason and other anti-government offenses.
Sedition is a serious felony punishable by fines and up to 20 years in prison and it refers to the act of inciting revolt or violence against a lawful authority with the goal of destroying or overthrowing it.
To learn more, you can read the full essay here.
Image: Springfield Republican