An interesting amendment, to succeed or turning over Presidential Power, setting up guidelines to a clause in the Constitution. This is the Amendment that ultimately put Gerald Ford into the Presidency without an election of the people.
Section 2. 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 3. 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 4. 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.
The first three sections are easy to understand. If a President dies, quits or is fired by impeachment, the Vice-President gets a promotion. Nixon quitting, Ford’s promotion for example.
But what if the Vice-President leaves? The President picks a successor and Congress has to agree to it. Nixon’s Vice-President quit, so he picked Gerald Ford. Then Nixon quit and Ford became the first un-elected President. Interesting trivia to tell your friends.
Section 3 is for when a President is incapacitated, like surgery or doctor’s tests, and they’re loopy on sedatives and painkillers, he can transfer his power to the Vice-President, in writing. Both the Senate and House leader gets the letter. And then later, the President can take his power back the same way.
Section 4 looks confusing and has never been used. But it works like this: The Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet(or a later incarnation. Czars?) decide that the President can’t handle his job, they tell Congress in writing that he’s stepping in as Acting President. The President can then inform Congress that he can do the job and takes back his office from the Vice-President unless the Vice-President and Cabinet contest that within 4 days to the Senate and House. Then Congress decides within 21 days by 2/3rds majorities whether or not if the President can do the job. I never knew this existed. See…we’re both learning. Now I know of two ways to remove a President in the middle of his term, impeachment and Section 4.
Remember that just societies have a check and balance system. Government makes laws which are enforced by the cops. Laws are just words on paper, you don’t have to follow them, which is why we have cops. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the laws that keep the Federal Government in check BUT it’s just words on paper unless enforced by someone. Guess who that is? WE THE PEOPLE, and we are failing miserable due to apathy and complacency. A little monetary or physical security in exchange for freedom and liberty. Not for this wolf, I’m not one of the flock, I’m above it and have taken it upon myself to snap you from your slumber, remove your blindfolds and show you how IT IS!
Another essay to follow on the Twenty-Sixth Amendment. Stay tuned for it next week.