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Unable - The Law, Politics, and Limits of Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment by Kalt, Brian C (24th October 2019)

Part III Section 4 in “Practice”, 9 Tough Calls

From: Unable: The Law, Politics, and Limits of Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment

Brian C. Kalt

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 08 April 2020

The hypothetical situations in this chapter raise more difficult issues. Here, the President might suffer from dementia or a stroke but be unaware of her lost faculties. Mental illness might cause a president to become unable to discharge his powers and duties, but could be difficult to diagnose. If the President is able to contest a Section 4 action, he will find it easy to retake power unless his disability is substantial.

Other cases covered in this chapter include a traveling President out of communication with the White House may necessitate giving power to the Vice President if decisive action is needed; and a President under criminal prosecution. Finally, the Vice President and Cabinet may worry that a possibly disabled President is on the verge of creating an imminent catastrophe. Even if Congress does not uphold the Vice President’s decision, invoking Section 4 would provide time to remove the nuclear button from the President’s hands.

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