Four years ago, I was hearing calls for invoking the 25th amendment based on several shrinks (who hadn’t met with him) diagnosing Trump as having a narcissistic personality disorder. I’m not even hearing cricket chirping from those same folks as the right hand folks bandy the word “dementia” as a descriptor of our current president.
So here’s a link that tells about the 25th amendment. Here’s the summary:
- Section 1: If the president leaves office, the vice president becomes the new president.
- Section 2: If the vice president leaves office, the president nominates a new vice president who must then be confirmed by Congress.
- Section 3: If the president decides to temporarily give up power, he must put this declaration in writing, and the vice president will become acting president until the president puts in writing that he is able to resume his duties.
- Section 4: If the vice president decides the president can no longer perform the duties of his office, he and a majority of the executive cabinet can submit this in writing to Congress. When that happens, the vice president becomes acting president. The president can disagree however, and it requires at least two-thirds of Congress voting that the president is unfit for duty for him to be permanently stripped of his powers.
OK – the summary seems easy to understand – section 1 just clarifies that the vice-president is next in the line of succession, section 2 put Gerald Ford in as vice-president, section 3 let Reagan pass the gavel when he went in for surgery, and section 4 is the way to remove the president when he (or she) is absolutely bug nuts – here is the exact text:
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 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.”
Well, that kind of explains why folks talked about invoking the 25th amendment but never did. It’s easier just to impeach the dude. If Kamala Harris could get eight cabinet secretaries to go along with the idea that Biden’s dementia is reason enough to take him back to Delaware, it can be done – until Slow Joe decides to argue and it takes a ⅔ vote of both houses. Ah, well, even the demented need legal protection.