Democrats Looking At 25th Amendment Option For Removal Of Trump

Donald Trump’s bizarre behavior in his attacks on Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski has led to further talk about the possibility of removing Donald Trump from office if found to be mentally unfit. Twenty-five House Democrats are pursuing a bill to create a panel which could evaluate Trump’s mental competency under the 25th Amendment. Yahoo! News reports:

… 25 House Democrats, including the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, are now pushing an equally radical alternative: They are backing a bill that would create a congressional “oversight” commission that could declare the president incapacitated, leading to his removal from office under the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

At 12:56 p.m. Thursday, barely four hours after Trump tweeted attacks against MSNBC cable host Mika Brzezinski in crude, personal terms, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the chief sponsor of the bill, sent out an email to his colleagues, urging them to get behind the measure, writing it was of “enduring importance to the security of our nation.”

“In case of emergency, break glass,” Raskin told Yahoo News in an interview. “If you look at the record of things that have happened since January, it is truly a bizarre litany of events and outbursts.” Asked if Trump’s latest tweets attacking Brzezinski and her co-host Joe Scarborough — which were roundly condemned by members of both parties as beneath the dignity of his office — strengthened the grounds for invoking the 25th Amendment, Raskin replied: “I assume every human being is allowed one or two errant and seemingly deranged tweets. The question is whether you have a sustained pattern of behavior that indicates something is seriously wrong.” After Trump’s Thursday morning tweets, four more Democrats signed on to Raskin’s bill, his office said Friday. (Brzezinski and Scarborough’s response to Trump’s tweets ran in today’s Washington Post under the headline, “The President is not well.” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s tweets Thursday, saying he “fights fire with fire.”)

…Raskin, a former constitutional law professor, has seized on some largely overlooked language in Section 4 [of the 25th Amendment] as the basis for his bill. It turns out it doesn’t have to be the Cabinet that makes a finding of presidential incapacity. The section also permits “such other body as Congress may by law provide” — along with the vice president — to reach the same conclusion.

Yet in the 50 years since the 25th Amendment took effect, Congress has never set up such a body. Raskin’s bill would do so. It calls for the creation of an “Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity.” The commission would be a nonpartisan panel appointed by congressional leaders composed of four physicians, four psychiatrists and three others — such as former presidents, vice presidents or other former senior U.S. government officials. The commission, if directed by Congress through a concurrent resolution, would be empowered to conduct an examination of the president “to determine whether the president is incapacitated, either mentally or physically.”

Removal of the president under the 25th Amendment could be more difficult than impeachment. Impeachment requires the support of a simple majority of the House and then two-thirds of the Senate to remove the president. The 25th Amendment  requires the Vice President to support the process. If the president should be declared to be incapacitated, he could then challenge the action. It would take two-thirds of both Houses to agree in order to prevent the president from being reinstalled in office.

The advantage of this mechanism would be that it is much quicker than the full impeachment process, provided that the Vice President and super majorities of both Houses agree. It is far fetched that this could currently be done, but does provide an option if Trump’s behavior should deteriorate further to the point that there is agreement that he must be removed.

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6 Comments

  1. 1
    James B. Weddle says:

    Would you be kind enough to point me to the section in the proposed bill requiring the number of psychiatrists to involved in the procedure to be at?

  2. 3
    SocraticGadfly says:

    I blogged about this when Douthat mentioned the idea. It's idiotic for the Trump of right now. Second, per the Amendment's actual language, it would be hard to make it stick: https://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-25th-amendment-solution-or-non.html

  3. 4
    Mike Reichman says:

    Unbelievable that some thing like this should be suggested. President trump is of sound mind and doing well.

    This will never work but if they come close look out for the majority that have voted for The president

  4. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    I question whether Trump is of sound mind, and he is certainly not doing well in carrying out his duties as president.

    Regardless, this would require bipartisan support and only work should maters worsen significantly and it become clear to a majority, including many of those who voted for him, that it is urgent to remove him from office.

  5. 6
    Robert J Kolker says:

    Trump is sane.  But he is nyekultorniya.   He is singularly unqualified for the job by experience,  but the only legal requirements to be president  is  citizenship and age. Trump qualifies on those which are the only legal requirement. 

    There is no Constitutional requirement that the President elect have  prior experience. 

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