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 February 13, 2024

Pressure on Merrick Garland to remove Biden from White House through 25th Amendment growing

Representative Claudia Tenney, a Republican from New York, recently called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to utilize the 25th Amendment as a means to remove President Joe Biden from office.

This call followed the release of a comprehensive 345-page report indicating that Biden suffers from what was described as a "poor memory."

The Hur report

Special Counsel Robert K. Hur characterized the president as a "well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory" and noted concerns about diminished cognitive faculties due to advancing age.

The 25th Amendment of the United States Constitution addresses scenarios of presidential vacancy, disability, and inability, outlining procedures for succession if the president is unable to fulfill their duties.

It specifically mandates that the Vice President assumes the presidency should such circumstances arise. Section four of the amendment deals with cases of presidential incompetence, allowing the Vice President to assume the role of acting president if the president is deemed unfit to serve.

Invoking this section does not entail the removal of the president from office, as would occur through impeachment. Instead, the president retains their position while the Vice President temporarily assumes the duties of the office.

The background

The 25th Amendment was enacted by Congress and ratified in 1967 in response to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy Jr., aiming to provide a clear framework for presidential succession and disability.

For the 25th Amendment to be invoked, the Vice President, along with a majority of the Cabinet or a designated congressional body, must declare the president unfit to serve and submit a formal written declaration to Congress.

The president has the opportunity to dispute the claim, and Congress would then vote, requiring a two-thirds majority within 21 days to ratify the decision.

The controversy

Although sections one through three of the 25th Amendment have been utilized in the past, section four, which addresses presidential incapacity, has never been invoked.

One notable instance where section four came close to being utilized was during President Ronald Reagan's presidency following an assassination attempt in 1981. However, the procedure was ultimately not executed.

Determining the applicability of the 25th Amendment in President Biden's case raises questions about how to define "inability" and what factors constitute incapacity. This includes considering both mental and physical aspects, as the language of the amendment is broad and open to interpretation.

Tenney's call to invoke the 25th Amendment underscores concerns about President Biden's cognitive abilities and raises important questions about the process of presidential succession and disability in the United States.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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