Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Politics is a topic Legal Pub prefers to avoid. But Rule of Law requires educated citizens and electorate. Consequently, when mainstream media starts to spread misleading information about "law," education is in order. What is all the rage about the 25th Amendment to the United State Constitution? "Fire and Fury" a controversial book by Michael Wolff indicates that the amendment was brought up "all the time" in the White House. Steve Bannon suggest it is a plausible way that President Donald Trump may be forced to step down. So what is this amendment? On its face, it a mechanism to remove a President who has impaired mental faculties.
More specifically, Section 4 of the 1967 amendment, allows for the vice president plus a majority of either a president's Cabinet or Congress to transmit to the Senate president pro tempore and the House speaker "their written declaration that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." A sitting U.S. president may; however, inform the Senate president pro tempore and House speaker that no such inability exists. The president would then remain in office unless the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet or Congress provides those members of Congress with a written declaration that the president is still unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. This puts the matter before Congress.
Once before Congress, both chambers of Congress must vote on whether the president is able to carry out his duties. A two-thirds vote in both chambers is required to remove the president from office. In reality, it is unlikely that a Cabinet would ever initiate such a proceeding. Furthermore, nothing in the 25th Amendment contains a means to prevent a sitting president from firing Cabinet members who feel he is unfit to serve. Consequently, the only likely way to remove a sitting president under the 25th Amendment would be if the procedure was initiated by Congress and had a 2/3 vote of the Congress agreeing to the removal.
So, when Steve Bannon says the 25th Amendment is the biggest threat to the Trump presidency, was is all just a ploy to sell books?