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Current Affairs

25th amendment of US

Date: 03 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

With weeks to go before the US presidential election, President Donald Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19.

 

Background

Trump is 74 years old and overweight, which places him in a potentially higher risk category for complications associated with the deadly infection.

 

Details

  • The 25th amendment of the US constitution lays down a clear succession plan if a president suddenly dies, resigns or is incapacitated while still in office.

  • The amendment was ratified by Congress in 1963 following the assassination of former President John F Kennedy.

  • As per Section 3 of the 25th amendment, if Trump’s condition were to deteriorate to a point where he is unable to carry out his responsibilities as President, his Vice President Mike Pence can temporarily assume office. Once Trump recovers, he can then reclaim his position.

  • Under Section 4 of the 25th amendment, the Vice President and a majority of either the Cabinet or any other body established by law, can also declare the president as “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” by sending a written declaration to senate.

  • In such a situation, Pence will immediately assume the powers of the president until Trump responds in writing that he is not, in fact, disabled. The Vice President and the Cabinet or review body then has four days to respond.

  • In a highly unlikely scenario where both the President and Vice President were to contract the illness and pass away, the constitution also lays down a clear line of succession.

  • According to the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, if both Trump and Pence are suddenly incapacitated, US House of Representatives Speaker will take over as commander-in-chief of the United States.

  • If Donald Trump or any other candidate were to pass away before the election then it would be up to their political party to choose their successor.

  • While the party is highly likely to choose the vice presidential candidate as the new presidential nominee, the procedure is not set in stone and the party also has the option of choosing someone else entirely.