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What is the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and when has it been used

The 25th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States prescribes procedures for the replacement of the President of the United States and Vice President of the United States whenever a vacancy occurs. The amendment also provides the procedure for removing a president should he be found unable to discharge the “powers and duties of his office.

The 25th Amendment was proposed by Congress and ratified by the states after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in order to formalize the process for replacing the top two officers of the executive branch should they be unable to perform their duties for any reason.

Section 1:

The first section specifies the first line of succession of the presidency:

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

Section 1 was first used in 1970 when Nixon, upon resignation.

Section 2:

The second section sets out succession for the office of the vice president:

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“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 2 was also first used in 1970 to replace Spiro Agnew, who ascended to the presidency, with Nelson Rockefeller.

Section 3:

The third section describes the process by which the president can declare that he is unable to perform his duties:

“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 3 has been invoked three times since its ratification:

  1. In 1985, for 7 hours and 54 minutes, while President Ronald Reagan underwent surgery
  2. in 2002, for 2 hours and 5 minutes, while President George W. Bush underwent surgery
  3. in 2007, 2 hours and 15 minutes, while President George W. Bush again underwent surgery

Section 4:

The final section of the 25th amendment sets out the procedure by which the president may have his powers and duties given to the vice president until which time that the inability is deemed to no longer exist:

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.

Section 4 has never been invoked.

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About R. Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Anomalous Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and
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