Part II History: Fact and Fiction, 6 Presidential Inability Since 1967
Brian C. Kalt
Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment has never been used, though it should have been used when President Reagan was shot and nearly killed in 1981. He was unconscious for hours and incapacitated for days, but his administration decided not to transfer power to Vice President Bush. Several years later, Reagan’s staff considered Section 4 more seriously, due to concerns about the President’s performance. They decided against it. Reagan did, however, invoke the Twenty-Fifth Amendment’s less exciting Section 3 prior to a planned surgery, setting a precedent followed by President George W. Bush on two occasions.