Two Hundred and Thirty-One years ago, thirty-nine men put their signature on the document which they had prepared for the people of The United States to replace the system of government which was failing the country. Today we take a few moments to look back on the adventure that has been Constitution Thursday.
In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
ARTICLE II, SECTION 1, CLAUSE 6
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.
25th Amendment, Section 4
When the USS Caine, a fictional minesweeper in WWII, was in danger of foundering in a hurricane, the Executive Offer, with the encouragement of the Wardroom, relieved the CO and “saved” the ship. It was a clear-cut case of mutiny, and as such a Court Martial would be required to resolve the matter. In the climactic moment, it becomes clear that though the Captain may be in trouble, the XO acted improperly and precipitously. He was not well advised and the Wardroom failed in its primary duty.
The interesting thing is that the movie itself, and specifically was in the minds of the commission that gathered to consider the words of what would become the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution.
Today you can buy a “25/45” T-shirt and you’ll hear Talking Heads debating the whole idea of how the 25th Amendment could be used to rid the country of the hated Trump. What was once considered a ridiculous idea has gained enough steam that Vice President Pence had to specifically deny that he had conversations with the Cabinet regarding the implementation of the 25th. In fact, many people still believe that he wrote the infamous New York Time Op-Ed as the opening shot of a 25th coup d’état.
The problem is that the 25th was never intended to get rid of a President because some part of the country doesn’t like the way he parts his hair…
No live show today. I had a prior commitment and between that and some other things going on, it just wasn’t going to work out today.
Tomorrow we will take a look at the 25th amendment. With all the recent “interest” in the idea of 25/45, it’s probably time to take our first Constitution Thursday in-depth look at the amendment and what it actually means. As a prep for that, today we will replay an Original episode Constitution Thursday
On May 12, 2011, as a part of the original episodes, we interviewed Del Wilbur, a Washington, D.C. reporter who had – at the time – just written a book, “Rawhide Down,” which is one of the most detailed and best books about the attempted assassination of Ronald Regan. It was the first time that the public really got a lesson in the possibility of replacing a President since the 25th Amendment had been ratified.
And so we return to a day when the Secretary of State said, “I am in charge here!” which set off a firestorm of criticism and confusion…