Pelosi Wants to School us on the 25th Amendment-EDIteD


…Or What is the 25th Amendment?

On October 8th, The Hill recorded Speaker Pelosi saying, “Tomorrow? Come here tomorrow. We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment.” This is at the 41-second mark in the video below.

We are going to break down the 25th Amendment in this post to illustrate all aspects of the amendment and clarify some of the terminologies.

the picture is a screen capture that reads: 25th amendment. Presidential Disability and Succession Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967. The 25th Amendment changed a portion of Article II Section I

Section one reads as follows:

In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section one, 25th Amendment, United States Constitution

“…the removal of the President from office…” can be anything from declaring him unfit to him voluntarily resigning. An impeachment charge does not remove him from office. This doesn’t mean they can’t be removed from office. It simply states that an impeachment charge can make him eligible for removal.

Section two reads as follows:

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section two, 25th Amendment, United States Constitution

When the President can no longer perform his duties as President and is removed, this creates a vacancy for the position of Vice President. The new President can nominate someone for his former position, but the person must be confirmed by a majority vote from both Houses of the Congress. A majority vote is 51% of the vote from each Chamber of Congress respectively.

Section three reads as follows:

Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 3, 25th Amendment, United States Constitution

Before we breakdown the section, there is a term that needs clarification.

President pro tempore
A constitutionally recognized officer of the Senate who presides over the chamber in the absence of the vice president. -Senatedotgov
In this instance, the President pro tempore is Chuck Grassley from Iowa.
The Speaker of the House is Nancy Pelosi from California.
This section covers what happens if the President himself makes a written declaration that he is no longer capable of fulfilling all the duties of the office of the President of the United States.
He can regain his powers by making another written statement declaring that he is fit.
Until such time, the Vice President has the powers of the President of the United States.
One instance that this can happen is if the President has been shot, is undergoing surgery, or is going to become otherwise temporarily incapacitated.
One of the most recent examples of this was in March 1981 when Bush was afforded the powers of the presidency after the attempted assassination of President Reagan.

Section four is the long one.

Section four, the first part reads:

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.

Section four, 25th Amendment, United States Constitution

For clarification, “the principal officers of the executive departments” refers to the 15 departments that make up the President’s Cabinet.
This section outlines how the President can be deemed unfit for duty when Section Three is not the case.
In this case, the Vice President, in conjunction with either the heads of The Cabinet or members of the body of Congress present a written statement to both the President pro tempore and the Speaker of the House that states the President is not fit to fulfill his duties as President.

The above should read as follows:

In this case, the Vice President and a majority of the 15 Cabinet heads or members of the body of Congress present a written statement to both the President pro tempore and the Speaker of the House that states the President is not fit for duty.

I previously misread the first part of the section and erringly thought all three must be the ones to submit the statement. I was in error. It is either a partnership between the Vice President and a majority of Cabinet heads or members of Congress, which is two separate groups. I am sorry for the oversight.

The important thing to note here is that the Vice President is not only to be involved, but he must also work with either one of the two outlined groups stated in the section.
When this happens, the Vice President assumes the power of the President as Acting President until the President either successfully contests or the Vice President with one of the named groups above presents another written statement that says he is once again fit for duty.

The Fourth section goes on to read as follows:

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 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.

Section 4, 25th Amendment, United States Constitution

This is where the dance begins.
The President can then submit a written statement contesting the declaration and stating he is fit for duty to both the President pro tempore and the Speaker of the House. He can only resume his duties as President if the Vice President, in conjunction with one of the aforementioned groups does not provide a written statement contesting the President’s written statement within four days of the President’s submitted declaration.
To break that down further,
the President can write a declaration saying that he is fit for duty. He then presents it to Grassley and Pelosi. If within four days of Trump doing this, Pence with either of one of the two aforementioned groups has not submitted a written statement saying Trump is not fit, Trump can resume the duties of the President.
If the contention from the Vice President is submitted within the allotted time, Congress has 48-hours to convene and make the final decision, if they are not in session.
If they are in session or not, Congress has 21 days from the last declaration, to make the final decision. The decision as to whether or not the President is fit for duty must be defnitively done with a 2/3 vote either way.
If they cannot come to a 2/3 vote to declare the President unfit, the President regains his powers and position as President of the United States. Conversely, if they 2/3 vote is the decision that the President is indeed unfit, the Acting President (Vice President) will assume the powers and office of the President of the United States.

Sources:
senate.gov
constitutioncenter.org
obamawhitehouse.archives.gov



Categories: Breakdowns, politics

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