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1 April 2015 Presidential inability
John D. Feerick
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This article focuses on potential gaps caused by the absence from the Twenty-Fifth Amendment of provisions to deal with the disability of a Vice President and the omission from the statutory line of succession law of provisions comparable to Sections 3 and 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment for when there is an able Vice President. The analysis offers a critical review of the latent ambiguities in the succession provision to the United States Constitution, noting problems that have arisen from the time of the Constitutional Convention, to John Tyler's accession to office, to numerous disability crises that presented themselves throughout the twentieth century, to the present day. As the world becomes more complex and threats to the presidency more common, continued examination of our succession structure and its adequacy for establishing clear and effective presidential succession provisions under a broad range of circumstances is of paramount concern. This article embraces this robust discussion by offering some suggestions for improving the system in a way that does not require a constitutional amendment. The first part of the analysis traces the events that have driven the development of the nation's succession procedures. The second part examines the inadequacies, or “gaps,” that remain in the area of presidential inability, and the third part sets forth recommendations for resolving these gaps.

John D. Feerick "Presidential inability," Politics and the Life Sciences 33(2), 11-36, (1 April 2015).
Published: 1 April 2015

contingent grant of power theory
Presidential disability
presidential succession
Presidential Succession Act of 1947
Twenty-Fifth Amendment
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