People recommend column matters. Essentially the most distinguished this week was a request that I clarify what occurs if Joe Biden can’t full his time period as president when the Jan. 6, 2021, joint session of Congress counts the electoral votes. And that’s assuming, after all, that the recounts don’t change issues.
So, let’s say that President Biden—or every other president—is sworn in however can’t full his time period. What occurs?
We addressed this incompletely in our authentic Structure. Article 2 of the Structure supplied that if a president can’t full his time period, the vp takes over. If one thing occurs to each of them, Congress determined who acts as president till the following regularly-scheduled presidential election.
That appeared simple sufficient. However it didn’t reply some necessary questions. Questions corresponding to who will get to determine if the president isn’t capable of carry out the features of his workplace? If the vp took over after the president died, what will we do a couple of new vp?
Additionally–and it is a stunning reality–earlier than the 25th modification (extra about that in a minute), the vp had both died in workplace, resigned, or taken over for the president greater than a dozen instances. After President Franklin Roosevelt died in April of 1945 (in close by Heat Springs, Georgia), we have been and not using a vp for practically 4 years.
All of these unanswered questions made individuals nervous after the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination of President Kennedy. Vice-president Lyndon Johnson was sworn in. However he had already had a coronary heart assault, and he was from a household of males who died comparatively younger (he died at age 64). The subsequent two individuals in line for the presidency have been 76 and 81 years of age. So, with the assassination nonetheless recent on our minds, we set about answering some questions.
They got here up with the 25th modification.
For any constitutional modification to grow to be a part of the structure, three-fourths of the states (38 of 50) needed to vote to ratify it. Alabama was the 43rd state to ratify it, doing so on Mar.14, 1967. In that greater than 38 states had already voted to ratify, Alabama’s votes have been pointless. Georgia by no means voted to ratify it.
What occurs below the 25th modification? First, it the president dies or is unable to carry out as president, the vp takes over. However he can take over in two methods: briefly or completely.
If the president dies, it’s easy sufficient—the vp is sworn in and is the brand new president. That settled an unsettled query: whether or not he was president or simply an performing president.
What occurs if the president doesn’t die, however he can no act as president? That may be a good bit harder.
The president himself can merely ship a letter to Congress that he’s unable to behave as president. That occurs if a president has to go below anesthesia for surgical procedure. The vp turns into “acting president”. If the president will get higher, he will get his job again by sending a letter. Congress can contest whether or not the president is in adequate form to take again the workplace of the presidency.
If the president can’t or gained’t certify his personal incapacity to behave—for instance, he suffers from debilitating dementia–the vp and a majority of the cupboard certify the president’s incapacity to the Home and the Senate. The president can dispute this. If the events can’t agree, it might take a two-thirds vote of each the Home and the Senate to take away the president.
Let’s play this out. Ought to President Biden grow to be incapable of being president two years into his time period, Vice President Kamala Harris would take over. That is the place issues get attention-grabbing, and if in case you have any conspiracy idea chops about you, right here is the place your fireworks go off.
How lengthy might she serve? Beneath the 22nd modification, she might serve out President Biden’s ultimate two years. Then she might run and win her personal first time period. Everyone knows that American presidents can serve solely two phrases, so she is finished after her first full time period, proper? No. She might win a full second time period.
That signifies that if her playing cards fall good (if she takes over with two years left on President Biden’s time period), Vice President Kamala Harris might grow to be President Kamala Harris to meet the two-year time period, she might run and be elected, and he or she might run and be elected once more. She might be president for the following ten years.
Let’s suppose that by means of a bit bit extra. If President Biden is eliminated at concerning the two-year mark, President Kamala Harris would get to decide on her vp topic solely to the approval of nearly all of each homes of Congress.
And if each homes of Congress are managed by the Democrats, is it too far-fetched to think about a Vice President Hillary Clinton?