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The 25th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was proposed to the states in July 1965, and was ratified by the required three-fourths within 18 months in early 1967. It is commonly referred to as The Presidential Disability and Succession Amendment. In subsequent years, both Amendments XXVI and XXVII have been amended to the U.S. Constitution.

Contemporary Presidents Clinton, GW Bush, and Obama were young when first elected. Their twenty-four years in office were free of significant disease. At no time did the question of their disability arise, except for rare. transient episodes. However, significant interest in the 25th Amendment has emerged. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden were in their 70s when inaugurated. A very hostile American press, angered by both Donald Trump’s flamboyant personality and his policies that were contrary to theirs, “trumped up” questions of his mental ability. Meanwhile, Joe Biden is the oldest occupant of the White House oval office. Questions regarding his cognitive ability and possible pre-dementia have dogged him for several years.

Hence an updated exposition of Amendment XXV is relevant.

The bill that eventually evolved into The Presidential Disability and Succession Amendment was introduced into both Houses of Congress by Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana and Representative Emanuel Cellar of Brooklyn inĀ  January, 1965. Its need was both exigent and apparent: After Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency after Kennedy’s assassination, there was no sitting Vice President. Secondly, the long term and severe disability of Woodrow Wilson at the end of his second term rendering him incapable of running the country was an episode acknowledged to be most unhealthy for the country.

The Amendment consist of four sections in increasing levels of complexity. Please tune in to my succeeding posts.




Lud Historian
1 Comment
  • Warren Braun
    Posted at 17:05h, 19 February Reply

    Very helpful overview. Looking forward to learning more.

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