Pleading the 25th

2020 | Week of October 12 | Radio Transcript #1381

What in the world is the 25th Amendment? Lots of people are asking that question right now, and rightly so.

It’s unfortunate that so many people are having to learn about this constitutional provision the hard way, when they should have already known about it from their time in school. But like so many things today, real civics and truthful American history is often absent in our government schools, from kindergarten through college.

I’m actually writing this commentary on October 12, which for decades in our country has been recognized as Columbus Day. Sadly, mostly through academic elites in institutions of higher learning and then spilling down into those teaching and working in our elementary and secondary schools, this day has in many places morphed into a wrongful disdain for the explorer Christopher Columbus and a renaming of it to Indigenous Peoples Day.

This digression is just a timely reminder that what isn’t taught or what is wrongly taught in the schools where by far the vast majority of Americans get their formal education really does matter.

But back to the 25th Amendment. This Amendment was adopted in early 1967, and deals with presidential succession and how to handle presidential disability.  The Amendment clarifies that the vice-president becomes President if the president dies or resigns when in office.  It also delineates what happens if the office of vice-president is vacant. In that case, the president nominates a vice president who assumes office after a majority confirmation vote by both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.

Section 3 of the Amendment allows the president to jointly notify the president pro-tempore of the US Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives that he or she cannot discharge the powers and duties of the office for a time and transmits such to the vice-president. Then when the president can again discharge the duties of the office, he notifies the officials of that and resumes the office of president.

Now comes the part that is being talked about today. Section 4 allows for 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,” to basically claim that the president is unable to discharge his duties and gives the power and duties to the Vice President.

This section further says that if the president asserts that no inability exists, he can resume office, unless these other government officials or a congressionally provided “body” disagree. In that situation, then within a certain time frame, Congress has to meet and vote on the issue. A two-thirds vote of both Houses would be necessary to force the president to step aside and have the vice-president assume the office.

This is the only section of the 25th Amendment that hasn’t been invoked.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has since 2017 been asserting that President Trump is mentally unfit to hold office. Now with his recent COVID bout, she has ramped up her rhetoric and backed it up with support for a bill that would sanction a commission to determine the president’s fitness for office. She claims this isn’t about President Trump and the November 3 election.  Her Democratic colleagues are providing some cover saying this bill invoking Section 4 of the 25th Amendment is necessary because of COVID.

Republicans are skeptical—and of course since both houses would have to pass the measure and with the Senate controlled by Republicans, it’s highly unlikely that the bill passes during this current Trump administration.

But it’s fair to ask what could this bill and its commission do after the election? What if the Biden-Harris ticket prevails?  What if the Democrats hold the majority in the House and gain the majority in the Senate?

It’s no secret that Joe Biden’s mental state has been under great scrutiny. Could this be a set-up to oust Biden and quickly have Kamala Harris become the president of the United States?  I don’t think you have to be a conspiracy theorist to get to the conclusion that this could well be what the Democrats are planning. COVID just provides some reasonable cover for them to put forward this bill dealing with this never-before-used provision in the 25th Amendment.

A couple of statements bear repeating. Elections have consequences and what we don’t know really can hurt us. With those truths in mind, visit and click on Election Central to see educational voter resources, including a side-by-side comparison of Biden and Trump on a variety of issues. Know what and who you are voting for and keep in mind the consequences that will surely follow.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council, reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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