Pittsburgh, PA
Friday
November 24, 2017
    News           Sports           Lifestyle           Classifieds           About Us
Nation & World
 
Consumer Rates
Flight 93
Headlines by E-mail
Home >  Nation & World >  U.S. News Printer-friendly versionE-mail this story
U.S. News
25: Presidential disability

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

25TH AMENDMENT (1967)

The presidential succession was long established and had worked in eight instances by the time the 25th Amendment was put forward by Congress in 1965. More problematic had been those awkward moments when no one could be sure who was in charge. On Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy lay lifeless on a gurney at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. The uncertainty about who was in charge of the nation led his vice president, Lyndon B. Johnson, to be sworn in on an airplane on the tarmac at a Dallas airport. Searching for a way to end ambiguity about who was in power in moments of crisis, Congress crafted a new amendment. It allowed for the vice president to temporarily assume the duties of chief executive if the president deemed himself, or was determined by the vice president and a majority of the cabinet, unable to fulfill the duties of office. Moreover, the amendment allowed for the selection of an appointed vice president if the current one were to resign. Both provisions of this amendment were subsequently used. In 1973, then-Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned after pleading guilty to demanding payoffs and Michigan Congressman Gerald Ford succeeded him. On June 29 of this year, President Bush handed over powers to Vice President Dick Cheney from 7:09 a.m. to 9:24 a.m. while the president was sedated for a routine colonoscopy.

Vice President Dick Cheney, left, meets with President Bush at a cabinet meeting on Nov. 13 in the White House. After the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, presidential succession became so important that Cheney and Bush are rarely seen in the same place. Since that time, Cheney has spent numerous days secured in what officials will only call "an undisclosed location" assuring a continuity of leadership in the event Bush should be incapacitated. At the meeting, Bush was flanked by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, right, and Secretary of State Colin Powell.


Amendment XXV:

Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2. 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 3. 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 4. 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.


Back to Main Story

Back to top Back to top E-mail this story E-mail this story
Search | Contact Us |  Site Map | Terms of Use |  Privacy Policy |  Advertise | Help |  Corrections