Your Weekly Constitutional: The 25th Amendment
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Your Weekly Constitutional: The 25th Amendment


JOSH: WE ENJOY OUR VISITS ON WEEKEND MORNINGS WITH THIS GUY. THIS IS STEWART HARRIS HE’S A PROFESSOR OF LAW AT LINCOLN MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY. HE’S THE HOST OF YOUR WEEKLY CONSTITUTIONAL AND A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR HERE ON NEWS CHANNEL 11. AND HE IS OUR HISTORY TEACHER OFTEN. THAT’S WHAT WE’RE DOING THIS WEEK. AS YOU’RE LOOKING TO WHAT HAPPENED 50 YEARS AGO – THE 25TH AMENDMENT RATIFIED. I WISH I KNEW A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THIS, I’M SORRY. STEWART: WELL, YOU’RE GOING TO FINDOUT ABOUT IT. FIRST, I WANT TO SAY WE ALWAYS TRY TO BE TIMELY, BUT NOT PARTISAN. WE TRY TO BE CONSTITUTIONAL, BUT NOT POLITICAL. SO, I HAVE TO BEGIN WITH THIS DISCLAIMER – THIS IS NO COMMENTARY ON OUR CURRENT PRESIDENT. BUT THE 25TH AMENDMENT DEALS WITH WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE PRESIDENT GOES NUTS? O.K. IT IS THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY. THIS IS AN EPISODE WE’VE BEEN PLANNING FOR QUITE A LONG TIME. IN THE LATE 1960’S A FORMER LAW SCHOOL DEAN DECIDED THAT THERE WAS A PROBLEM WITH PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION. AND THERE HAS BEEN A PROBLEM WITH PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION THROUGHOUT MOST OF OUR HISTORY. THE CONSTITUTION WAS NOT CLEAR THAT WHEN THE PRESIDENT DIED THAT THE VICE PRESIDENT ACTUALLY BECAME PRESIDENT RATHER THAN JUST ACTING PRESIDENT. AND THE CONSTITUTION WAS NOT CLEAR ABOUT WHAT A PRESIDENTIAL DISABILITY IS. AND WE HAD ALL SORTS OF PROBLEMS. WOODROW WILSON HAD A STROKE AND FOR ALMOST 2 YEARS, HIS WIFE WAS RUNNING THE COUNTRY. SO, IT WAS SUGGESTED WE NEEDED AN AMENDMENT. JOSH: AND WHAT CAME OF THE 25TH AMENDMENT? WHAT DO WE KNOW IS THE TRUTH NOW? NEEDED AN AMENDMENT. JOSH: AND WHAT CAME OF THE 25TH AMENDMENT? WHAT DO WE KNOW IS THE TRUTH NOW? STEWART: WHAT WE KNOW IS THAT IT GOT USED IMMEDIATELY. BECAUSE THE 25TH AMENDMENT FOR THE FIRST TIME TELLS US WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE VICE PRESIDENT RESIGNS. A FEW YEARS LATER, IT HAPPENED, AND GERALD FORD STEPPED IN. IT ALSO SAYS WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE PRESIDENT RESIGNS. WELL, WE FOUND OUT BECAUSE GERALD FORD BECAME PRESIDENT. THE FIRST MAN TO HOLD BOTH OF THOSE OFFICES AND NEVER BE ELECTED TO EITHER ONE OF THEM. IT’S BEEN USED SINCE THEN WHEN GEORGE W. BUSH HAD SURGERY. HE DECLARED HIMSELF INCAPACITATED WHILE HE WAS UNDER THE GAS AND ACTUALLY DICK CHENEY BECAME ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR A FEW HOURS. IT’S A VERY, VERY USEFUL AMENDMENT. IT’S BEEN USED AND IS VERY IMPORTANT. JOSH: IT’S A GREAT WAY TO GET UP TO SPEED ON YOUR HISTORY AND YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONSTITUTION. IT IS YOUR WEEKLY CONSTITUTIONAL . HE HOSTS THE PROGRAM. IT’S A FANTASTIC SHOW. IT AIRS SUNDAY AT 3 P.M. AND TUESDAY AT 8 P.M. ON WETS-FM 89.5. STEWART, THANK YOU. STEWART: THANK YOU, JOSH.

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