What is the 25th Amendment, and could it be used against Trump? - Macleans.ca

What is the 25th Amendment, and could it be used against Trump?

There’s a second way to remove the president, but it requires a Cabinet Room mutiny

Vice president-elect Mike Pence looks on during an election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Vice president-elect Mike Pence looks on during an election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Constitution actually provides for two ways to remove a sitting president from office. The first, impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate, is a function of the legislative branch of government. The second involves the executive branch, the president’s own, and it’s enabled by the 25th Amendment.

Section 4 of the Amendment allows the vice-president and a majority of the cabinet to tell the Senate president pro tem (typically the longest-serving senator from the ruling party) and the Speaker of the House that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” in which case the vice-president becomes the acting president. If the president then tells Congress he is in fact capable of doing his job, he would regain his office.

The vice-president and cabinet can press their case. If they do, Congress must assemble within 48 hours (if it is not already in session) “to decide the issue.” The two chambers may sit for 21 days to deliberate the matter, and if two-thirds of both the House and Senate vote that the president is indeed unable to carry out his duties, then the vice-president continues to be acting president.

The Amendment was ratified by the states in 1967. “When John Kennedy was assassinated, people began to think about what would have happened had he lived but had he been seriously brain damaged,” explains Louis Michael Seidman, the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown Law. “And there was no way to remove somebody like that from office.”

The first modern incarnation of the problem occurred during the latter years of the Woodrow Wilson presidency. No. 28 had a stroke in 1919, but remained in office, and thereafter the First Lady managed access to him and reportedly undertook or delegated many of his duties.

Section 3 of the Amendment provides for the president to declare himself “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” transferring them to the vice-president as acting president unless he signals otherwise. It has thrice been invoked by Oval Office holders when undergoing medical procedures that are performed under general anesthesia, rendering the patient unconscious.

Some critics of the current administration have suggested that Section 4 should be used against President Donald Trump. “Some people have suggested that Trump could be removed for mental disabilities,” Seidman notes. “Aside from anything else, that process has to be triggered by the Vice-President, and that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.”

Vice-president Mike Pence has recently established his own political action committee (PAC), a funding mechanism for candidates running for office. He’s the first VP to do so. But there’s been no indication so far that Pence plans to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.



What is the 25th Amendment, and could it be used against Trump?

  1. The only people looking to impeach, or remove, Trump are Democrats and the media. Including, strangely, the Canadian media who are conversely silent about our own leader whose IQ, in room temperature terms, is akin to a facility for storing meat. The media is upset about supposed Russian collusion. In light of that, we must examine certain facts that are not in dispute by anyone, anywhere.
    A recent Democratic figure, whose name escapes me, chastised a Republican candidate for his Russian concerns by stating that “the 80’s called, and they want their foreign policy back.”
    That same Democrat issued a Presidential pardon to a soldier who had been imprisoned for selling thousands of classified documents to these same Russians.
    That same Democrat leaked intelligence to the Russians in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
    Members of the electoral team of Hillary Clinton had secret meetings with both Russian and Chinese officials in 2016, according to the emails leaked to Wikileaks by a disgruntled DNC staffer, who was later murdered. (He may have committed Arkancide.)
    Someone in the Obama administration illegally “unmasked” members of the Trump team who were in contact with Russian officials. This is a serious crime, and was only committed against Trump associates and not Clinton associates.
    Secretary Clinton illegally ran a private email upon which she illegally conducted state business, then destroyed said server in contravention of the law.
    Members of Clinton’s team invoked the 5th no less than 125 times while being questioned about Clinton’s illegal email arrangement. This fact alone is undeniable proof of criminality.
    There were electoral districts where Secretary Clinton received more vots than there were registered voters in the precinct. There were no such incidents in any districts carried by Trump.
    There has not been a single shred of evidence put forth that might indicate that the Russian government aided, abetted, or colluded in any form or manner to falsify election counts or results, nor did the Russian, or any, government induce any American citizen to alter their vote or vote for the candidate NOT of their choice for any reason.
    None of this is in dispute. Please tell us again how the Russians and Trump hacked the election, and how the current turmoil in DC is the result of legitimate issues. Please. I’m all ears.

    • The thing is, whether or not the Russians DID hack the election or not (and I’m leaning towards they did, personally), 45 keeps freaking out about how innocent he is – while saying there was HUGE voter fraud (uh… wha?). As well, inviting two Russians (one of whom is a spy) into the oval office as a (returned) favour to Putin… really? REALLY? Without allowing US cameras in the meeting, only Russian cameras, to record the meetings. REALLY? And then they were so. shocked the Russians would ‘leak’ those photos.

      As the Hip said, “a baby raised by wolves knows exactly what this is”.

      And doing that the day after firing the guy in charge of the investigation…. REALLY?

      There is no truth – only perception. And the perception about this is really, REALLY bad.

      Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

      • Can something that is wrong be criminal in nature?
        Of course, but so far, it seems nothing associated with The Donald.