The Twenty-Fifth Amendment
After JFK’s assassination in 1963, many legislators believed that the issue of Presidential succession and disability needed greeter constitutional definition. First proposed in 1965, the Twenty-Fifth Amendment was ratified in 1967.
Under the amended language now in effect, if a President became disabled, or resigned or was removed by impeachment, the Amendment establishes a line of succession in the Vice President; and then the Speaker of the House if the Vice President was unavailable to hold office, and finally the Senate Pro Tem.
Remember this line of succession almost came to fruition after Nixon’s first Vice President; Spiro Agnew was convicted of a felony and removed. Luckily, for the country, Nixon had appointed, with Congressional approval, the conservative but popular Congressman Gerald Ford to be named as the new Vice President.
The new Amendment also defined the term “disability” of the President. If a President should refuse to temporarily surrender the powers of the office if disabled, then a majority of the President’s cabinet can recommend that the Twenty-Fifth Amendment be triggered. The question is then passed on to Congress.
If 2/3 of Congress (the House and the Senate) rules that the President could be temporarily removed while unfit for office until then he is officially deemed unfit to resume the office.
This rule was probably put in place due to lingering doubts about Edith Wilson becoming the “shadow” President, after Woodrow Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke during his second term. There had also been a fear of another “shadow” President, Eleanor Roosevelt, after FDR suffered a major hemorrhage. Of course, FDR did not linger; he died almost immediately while vacationing in Warm Springs, Georgia, after just serving only 83 days of his fourth term.
Well, every vote counts, doesn’t it? Some of the recent Aug. 4 elections were decided by just a few votes. And surprisingly some were not.
I still think that the founding fathers, most of whom eventually went belly up financially, would be astounded at the amount of money invested in these modern election times. A few years ago, I read that there were only 8 or 9 US Senators whom were not classified as a millionaire. Hey, can they even relate to someone making a $700 house payment or farm payment.
I don’t know if it’s accurate, but someone told me that the total spent in the recent local Missouri state senate race by three very competitive candidates was approaching a half million dollars. And the last US Senate race between McCaskill and Hawley attracted a lot of out-state money eventually totaling over 30 million dollars.
There are two possible solutions, which I think might prohibit or severely limit union and corporate political donations. Of course, the US Supreme Court, a few years ago, ruled that for some reason, freedom of speech laws applied to these legal entities, and that they could still contribute almost unlimited funds to various PACs that support specific candidates and or issues. Remember the very true old public saying: “Money corrupts.”
Another solution might be to greatly shorten the filing period for elections and restrict or prohibit fund rising until the filing period opens. Also, it has been recommended that political war chests of incumbent candidates after an election, be forfeited, returned to the contributors, or donated to charity.
The problem with this approach is that many people believe that such a rule would result in only the wealthy being able to self-finance an expensive election contest.
On another sad note of passing, Jack Sprague, a friend of mine and retired US Navy, passed away. He had been ill but was only in his mid-fifties, residing in Norwood. My deepest sympathy goes out to his immediate family and especially his mother, Jean Sprague, a dear friend of mine. His passing was way too early; he will be greatly missed.
Now, get up and go enjoy our beautiful Ozarks outdoors!