Part II History: Fact and Fiction, 5 Section 4: Creation, Evolution, and Approval
Brian C. Kalt
The immediate impetus for the Twenty-Fifth Amendment was President Eisenhower’s leadership in the wake of his health problems. After the Kennedy assassination, Senator Birch Bayh led the effort to enact the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. Section 4 underwent many changes before arriving at its final content in 1965 (it was ratified in 1967). These changes shed important light on what the framers intended Section 4 to accomplish, and what limits they intended it to have. The chapter includes a table that traces the evolution of individual parts of Section 4. It concludes with an examination of the framers’ intentions regarding specific issues discussed elsewhere in the book: the overall purpose of Section 4; how Section 4 interplays with the impeachment process; the roles of its decision-makers; technical details; and the tradeoffs between encouraging reluctant Vice Presidents and empowering power-hungry ones.