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Constitution

Constitution

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Home Civics Constitution Summary 25th Amendment

25th Amendment

Bust out your magnifying glass. We're taking an up-close look at 25th Amendment of the US Constitution.

Quote #1

Passed by Congress: 6 July 1965Ratified: 10 February 1967 Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President. Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress. Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President. 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. 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.


The Twenty-fifth Amendment is essentially a housekeeping measure, passed to clean up some ambiguities in Article II's provisions for the presidential succession. If the president dies or resigns or is removed from office, the vice president takes over. If the vice president dies or resigns or is removed from office, the president can choose a new VP, subject to confirmation by Congress. If the president submits written notice that he is no longer able to carry out the duties of his office, for whatever reason, the VP takes over. And last but not least, if the VP and a majority of the cabinet all agree that the president is no longer capable of carrying out the duties of his office, the VP can temporarily take over as Acting President. If the president disputes his removal from office, the Congress must decide whether the president should regain the powers of his office or whether the VP should remain in charge. Needless to say, this last circumstance has never happened in American history, and it would be pretty crazy if it ever did.

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