Let’s talk about the 25th Amendment!
By Kate O'Brien-Nicholson
9th January 2021
What does it mean to invoke the 25th Amendment? If President’s duties are taken away under this Amendment, could he still run for office in the future? To learn more about the 25th Amendment and its creation, here is a work from John Feerick, a man who helped draft the very amendment.
John Feerick was asked by the American Bar Association to help draft the 25th amendment in 1964 after he wrote an article about the gaps in presidential succession for the Fordham Law Review. The amendment sets out the succession process for the U.S. presidency and establishes procedures for when the president is disabled or the office of vice president must be filled. He also authored a Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, The Twenty-Fifth Amendment: Its Complete History and Applications, about presidential succession and is recognized as the preeminent scholar on the 25th Amendment.
The latest edition updates this landmark study with the Amendment’s uses in the past twenty years and how those uses (along with new legal scholarship) have changed the Amendment and perceptions of presidential disability in general. The extent of its authority has been tested over the years: During the Watergate crisis, it was proposed that the Amendment might afford a means by which a president could transfer presidential power during an impeachment proceeding, and it was also suggested that the Amendment could authorize a vice president and cabinet to suspend a president during a Senate impeachment trial. The Twenty-fifth Amendment is evolving rapidly, and this book is an invaluable guide for legal scholars, government decision makers, historians, political scientists, teachers, and students studying the nation’s highest offices.
“Feerick has been an active participant observer of the process of providing for presidential disability, presidential succession, and vice-presidential replacement. This work remains the definitive account of the adoption and implementation of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.“—Choice
In yesterday’s New York Daily News op-ed, Feerick said:
“Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana said in 1964 that thanks to Bayh, the 25th Amendment provided a ‘foundation which will set well in the building which is this Republic.’
Over the course of the presidency of Donald Trump, the issue of inability has been raised time and again, as at the present time. With 13 days to go in his presidency, is it still ripe to invoke the amendment?
It is, in my view, if the vice president and the Cabinet conclude that he is unable to discharge his powers and duties, especially including providing for a peaceful transition of power to President-elect Biden. While the vice president and Cabinet were chosen for their loyalty, that becomes irrelevant under the Constitution, as they were expected by the framers of the 25th Amendment to put country first in implementing Section 4.”
Check out John Feerick’s new memoir, That Further Shore!
John Feerick has consistently shown his commitment to the law as a vocation as well as a profession by his efforts to protect the rights of the poor, to enable minorities to achieve their rightful places in American society, and to combat political corruption. That Further Shore: A Memoir of Irish Roots and American Promise is an inspiring memoir of how one humble and decent man helped to make America a more just and equitable society.
John Feerick is a professor of law at Fordham Law School and the occupant of the Sidney C. Norris Chair of Law in Public Service. He teaches and writes in areas of the Constitution, legal ethics, and conflict resolution.
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To order a copy of That Further Shore and the latest edition of 25th Amendment, visit www.fordhampress.com and use discount code SHORE30 at checkout to receive a 30%. *Offer good thru 3/31/21.
- How to invoke the 25th Amendment: An architect of the provision for removing the president explains – New York Daily News (nydailynews.com)