The 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution addresses issues related to presidential succession and disability.
It was ratified on February 10, 1967, in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The amendment outlines the procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President and for responding to situations where the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the presidency.
Key provisions of the 25th Amendment include:
Section 1: This section deals with the Vice President’s succession to the presidency in the event of a vacancy. If the President dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the Vice President assumes the presidency.
Section 2: The President has the authority to nominate a new Vice President if that office becomes vacant. This nomination must be confirmed by a majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Section 3: This section provides a mechanism for the temporary transfer of presidential powers and duties in the event that the President is unable to fulfill them but is still in office.
The President can voluntarily transfer power to the Vice President by submitting a written declaration to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. This transfer is temporary, and the President can reclaim power by submitting another written declaration.
Section 4: This is a more complex provision dealing with situations where the President is unable to declare their own incapacity. It allows the Vice President, together with a majority of the Cabinet or another body established by Congress, to declare the President unfit for office.
This declaration must be submitted in writing to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. If the President disputes the declaration, Congress must decide the issue by a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers.
Later, when Nixon resigned in 1974, Ford became President, and he nominated Nelson Rockefeller to be Vice President, marking the first use of Section 2 of the 25th Amendment.
The amendment provides a legal and constitutional framework for dealing with situations where the President is unable to perform the duties of the office, ensuring a smooth and orderly transition of power.