After the violent assault of the Capitol this last Wednesday, there are growing calls from Congress for President Donald Trump to be removed from his powers as president by using the disability clause that reflects the now famous 25th Amendment.
The amendment provides a complex and difficult process for removing power from a sitting president. We briefly explain the history of the 25th Amendment and an explanation of how it works now that it is on everyone’s lips in the United States and in the rest of the world that awaits the next moves in the country.
What is the 25th Amendment?
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution is designed primarily to clarify the order of presidential succession. The first three sections of the Amendment deal with possible events such as a president resigning, dying or becoming ill or temporarily incapacitated.
The fourth section provides a multi-step process for the vice president and most officials who run executive agencies, which are also known as the cabinet, to declare that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
That process ultimately requires a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress in favour of implementing the 25th Amendment.
Where does the 25th Amendment come from?
After the assassination of John F. Kennedy in ’63, the debate opened on how to choose a new vice president after Lyndon B. Johnson became president.
And at the same time, there was also the fear of what could happen if something happened to Johnson such as him getting sick and becoming incapacitated before his replacement was found.
Finally, in 1965 Congress formally proposed the 25th Amendment, and the amendment became part of the Constitution in 1967 after 38 states ratified it.
How would it work if it were invoked now?
The first step would be for Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet to provide a written statement to the President pro tempore of the Senate (Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa) and the Speaker of the House (Representative Nancy Pelosi, D-California) that current President Donald Trump “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
That would immediately strip Donald Trump of his powers as president and make Mike Pence the acting president until in this case Joe Biden takes office on January 20.
But the 25th Amendment would allow Donald Trump to immediately send a written statement of his own to Grassley and Pelosi saying that he is fit to discharge his duties as president of the United States.
That would allow him to resume his duties immediately unless Mike Pence and his cabinet send another statement to congressional leaders within four days reiterating their concerns that Donald Trump is not fit to perform his duties.
In this way, Mike Pence would return to his position as acting president until January 20.
That statement would require Congress to meet in about 48 hours and vote in 21 days.
If two-thirds of the members of Congress and the Senate agreed that Trump could not continue as president, he would be permanently removed from office, and Mike Pence would continue as acting president.
If the vote in Congress were not enough, Donald Trump would return to his duties as President.
Could we see the 25th Amendment being invoked?
The authors of the 25th Amendment had in mind a difficult process that would make it extremely rare, and there is no denying that they succeeded.
To put it in context, it is more difficult to take away a President’s powers under the 25th Amendment than under a recall process.
A president can be removed by a simple majority in Congress and removed from office by a two-thirds vote in the Senate. Removing a President from office under the 25th Amendment requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers.