Stop Talking About the 25th Amendment

Once again we’re back to this nonsense about the 25th Amendment. Alan Dershowitz claims that invoking it would amount to a coup d’etat, which is nonsensical since it is literally and expressly authorized by the constitution. But the 25th amendment actually doesn’t do jack. And yes, that’s the technical term. People still seem to think that it gives a majority of the cabinet the ability to remove the President.

It definitely does not.

Seriously go read the text. It doesn’t. But if you don’t have time, the gist is this: A majority of the cabinet can vote to remove the President from office. However, if they do so, he can immediately say, no I shouldn’t be removed from office. When he does that, he’s President again. Then the Congress has to decide who’s right. To back up the cabinet officials, both houses of Congress need to vote in their favor by supermajorities.

In other words, removing a President from office using the 25th Amendment is actually dramatically harder to do than impeaching him. Which gets us to the more particular point. People are so obsessed with the 25th Amendment because they think it’s a shortcut or quick and dirty version of impeachment. But it’s not. It’s harder. Much harder.

Why? Because it’s really not designed for this kind of situation. It’s designed for a case where the President is in a persistent vegetative state in a hospital. (Remember it’s a post-Kennedy assassination amendment.) Or the President has had some kind of psychotic break that maybe only cabinet members are even aware and they need to tell Congress. For better or worse, at least big minorities in both houses of Congress see what Trump is and still think he should be President. So the whole thing, the whole discussion, is a joke and a waste of time.

Masthead Masthead
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