Home > USA > What is the 25th amendment — and why are people talking about it?

What is the 25th amendment — and why are people talking about it?

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It used to be one of the lesser-known amendments to the United States constitution, but lately, more and more people are talking about it.

But what even is the 25th amendment — and why is there increasing conversation about it?

Adopted on Feb. 1967, the 25th amendment says the president can be removed from office if the majority of their cabinet determines the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

But that’s just the most controversial part of the amendment. The 25th amendment also lays out the line of succession for who will become president and says the president can send a letter to the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate that he is temporarily unable to effectively act as leader of the U.S.

The amendment has rarely been invoked, with one exception being when President George W. Bush transferred powers to Vice President Dick Cheney during a 2007 medical procedure, according to Heavy.com.

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Still, conversation about the 25th amendment spiked after the election of President Donald Trump.

According to an analysis of Google Trends, in the past five years there was relatively little — if any — search traffic for the amendment until Nov. 13, one week after the 2016 presidential election.

By February, searches for the 25th amendment dramatically increased, and have continued to ebb and flow ever since.

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The amendment is back in the spotlight today because of a Vanity Fair article that reports then-adviser Steve Bannon told President Trump that he shouldn’t be worried about impeachment.

Rather, Bannon reportedly said, Trump should be worried about the 25th amendment.

To which Trump reportedly responded: “What’s that?”

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According to Vanity Fair, Bannon thinks Trump has about a 30 percent chance of finishing his term — and believes that other cabinet members might end Trump’s term prematurely.

Jeffrey Rosen, constitution center president, told CBS that it isn’t too likely Trump will be removed by his cabinet, even if there is a valid medical issue.

“The determination of the president’s disability is really a political question,” Rosen said. “So that means that the cabinet and the vice president decide what disabled means. It’s not a decision for doctors.

“It’s easier to impeach than invoke the 25th Amendment,” Rosen added, “which is why no president has ever been removed under the disability provision of the 25th Amendment.”

Still, more Democrats are beginning to warm up to the idea of removing Trump from office through the amendment. That includes Rep. Al Green, who on Wednesday read articles of impeachment for Trump on the House floor and called for his removal from office under the 25th amendment, according to Metro.

Jackie Speier, a Democratic congresswoman from California, agrees with Green.

“POTUS is showing signs of erratic behavior and mental instability that place the country in grave danger,” she tweeted in August. “Time to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

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