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Friday, November 10, 2017

Broad . . .

. . . and vague . . .

". . . the 25th Amendment . . . is vague and broad. . . .It doesn’t have to be this way, however: This is the moment to give the 25th Amendment teeth. . . Briefly, the 25th Amendment allows the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to tell the President pro tempore of the Senate (Orrin Hatch) and the Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) in writing that the President is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” If the President doesn’t agree, he has the option of telling the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, “not so fast, I’m fine.” . . . At that point, Congress acts as a tie-breaker and determines within 21 days whether or not the President is indeed unfit. . . the legal standard in question is vague and has never been tested. Scholars and politicians have little guidance at the exact moment that they need it most. . . . In the absence of such guidance, some have worried that if we invoke the 25th Amendment based on mental illness, we could be setting a dangerous precedent. Put another way, people fear the 25th Amendment will become a partisan sword. Luckily, these fears are overblown. Let us remember who invokes the 25th Amendment — the Vice President and the Cabinet, both individuals hand-picked by the President. This is unlikely to be a group eager to usher the President out the door. And if, despite historical evidence to the contrary, the President's Cabinet does go rogue, Congress can still act as a safety valve. . . "

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