News out today is that Nancy Pelosi wants to establish a commission that would evaluate the fitness of a President under the terms of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment:
The legislation would create a commission to allow Congress to intervene under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution and remove the president from executive duties—with just 25 days to go before the Nov. 3 election.
However, Pelosi suggested that the gambit wasn’t particularly about Trump. “This is not about President Trump; he will face the judgment of the voters,” Pelosi told reporters in a news conference on Friday. “But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.”
Now, I’m feeling way ahead of the curve here. As our regular podcast listeners will know, “Lucretia” and I had an extensive discussion of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment in our latest Three Whisky Happy Hour last Saturday (and if you’re not listening regularly, why not? It is not necessary to be a whisky drinker to imbibe our wisdom, though it helps).
In fact setting up a commission to implement the temporary sidelining of a President is included in Section 4:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Of course, talking about using the 25th Amendment to get rid of Trump began the day after the election in 2016, but notice one key point: It requires the active cooperation of the Vice President, and there’s little chance Mike Pence would go along with this intrigue even if the commission consisted only of Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler.
But I wonder if that would be equally true of the very ambitious Vice President Kamala Harris? Maybe Pelosi is using Trump as a stalking horse to get an early start on replacing Biden in six months if he wins the election? This is what “Lucretia” and I consider at length last weekend. If you set up a commission, it could help get around the loyalty of a cabinet.
The mainstream media can’t seem to see it:
By the way, the second paragraph of Section 4 is even more wild and woolly, which I post here just for your curiosity:
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
If you’re having trouble following all that, here’s the flowchart: