Spurred by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the illnesses faced by President Dwight Eisenhower, the 25th Amendment was ratified on February 10, 1967. It celebrates 50 years this month.
The 25th Amendment deals primarily with cases of presidential incapacitation. But it’s not the only law that governs our succession procedures. Article II and the 20th Amendment also provide guidance, in addition to the third and current Presidential Succession Act, passed in 1947.
How does succession work? And what, if anything, could be changed to make it better?
Joining We the People to discuss are two of America’s leading constitutional and political experts who have thought a great deal about this issue.
Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law in both Yale College and Yale Law School. He is the author of several books on constitutional law and American history, including most recently The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era, which he discussed at the Constitution Center on Bill of Rights Day 2016. You can find that conversation at constitutioncenter.org or on our companion podcast, Live at America’s Town Hall.
Norman Ornstein is Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. He is the author of several books on the executive and legislative branches, and currently is Contributing Editor and Columnist at National Journal and The Atlantic. Since 9/11, Norm has also served on the “Continuity of Government Commission” to examine problems with presidential succession.
We want to know what you think of the podcast! Email us at [email protected].
We the People is a member of Slate’s Panoply network. Check out the full roster at Panoply.fm.
Despite our congressional charter, the National Constitution Center is a private nonprofit; we receive little government support, and we rely on the generosity of people around the country who are inspired by our nonpartisan mission of constitutional debate and education. Please consider becoming a member to support our work, including this podcast. Visit constitutioncenter.org to learn more.
Recent Stories on Constitution Daily