When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee member Jamie Raskin appeared before reporters Friday proposing a plan to assess presidents’ mental fitness, they were filled with predictable questions about Donald Trump.
The president Covid-19 diagnosisHis increasingly erratic behavior and concern about his response to his prescribed medications, including the powerful steroid dexamethasone, made these questions inevitable at a press conference on legislation to clarify how the 25th change works. The amendment was incorporated into the constitution in 1967 to establish contingencies for circumstances in which presidents die or are physically or mentally disabled.
Raskin, a constitutional scholar who was a law professor prior to the election of Maryland voters to Congress, has long advocated the establishment of an independent and impartial commission on the president’s ability to exercise the powers and duties of office. Now the House Speaker is speaking about Raskin’s legislation affecting the section of the 25th amendment This empowers Congress to establish a standing “body” which, in agreement with the Vice-President, may declare that the President “is unable to perform the powers and duties of his office”.
But the Trump era is always about Trump. And with the presidential election less than a month away, questions of whether Pelosi and Raskin were just trolling a troubled president made the discussion even after the speaker said, “This legislation applies to future presidents. However, we are reminded of the need that the current President’s health requires action. ”
So be it.
If Trump’s irrational presidency and the politics that go with it have got us to the point where we can finally resolve fundamental questions about the incapacity and succession of the president, that is a good thing for the future. This country leaves too many constitutional questions open until crises develop – and that is dangerous, Raskin reminds us.
“Look, we understand that in politics, people finger guilty back and forth.” The congressman said Friday. “But the questions raised are of such gravity and of such importance to the nature of our government that we have to consider them constitutionally.” For this reason, we need to set up an institution that is non-partisan and bicameral and is able to judge whether it is in five months, in five years, in 50 years or in 50 years, whatever it is. We live in a time of great chaos – and I want to say that I appreciate what the speaker has to go through on a daily basis to deal with the chaos of politics that has become particularly intense lately – and I know too appreciate seeing that we need to lay some constitutional and institutional foundations in order to deal with the chaos. Our ancestors who wrote the 25th Amendment gave us the tools we need to deal with such crises. “
Trump’s presidency was so chaotic that there were numerous discussions about invoking the 25th amendment during his tenure. His most recent Covid diagnosis brought this conversation back as he engages in grandiose and irrational behavior and makes statements so contradicting that the commander in chief often seems to argue with himself. It makes sense to talk about the 25th Amendment at a time when Trump is calling right-wing speaker Rush Limbaugh’s radio broadcast threatening Amid a widespread debate on the Iranian nuclear deal: “If you play around with us, if you do us something bad, we will do you things that have never been done before.” In fact, Trump’s two-hour call to Limbaugh on Friday was so unfocused and sometimes delusional that the host actually tried to end it plaintive indications to the President: “I know you still have a packed day ahead of you …”
But anyone who thinks Raskin is jumping on the 25th Amendment just doesn’t know enough about the longtime professor of the American University’s Washington College of Law, who now serves as an associate member of the House Judiciary Committee. He has been doing it since 2017 a convincing case to consider how best to use it the 25th amendment– Describes the procedures by which “the Vice President and a majority of the officers of the executive departments or any other body provided by Congress shall temporarily convey to the President the Senate and the President of the House of Representatives their written statement that the President is incapable is to fulfill the powers and duties of his office … ”
Raskin calmly and consistently stated that “the 25th amendment passed in 1967 does not leave this ruling solely to the Cabinet”.
“Under the 25th Amendment, the Vice-President and a majority in the Cabinet, or the Vice-President and a majority of ‘other bodies that Congress may provide by law’, may determine that the President be on grounds of physical or mental disability.” unable to perform the powers and duties of office, ”said the Maryland congressman said in 2018. “Because an unstable president could fire his own cabinet, Senator Birch Bayh, who sponsored the 25th Amendment, wanted Congress itself to create an independent” panel “to work with the vice-president in the event of the president’s incapacity.”
Three years agoRaskin sponsored a bill HR 1987, the Act on the Supervisory Board for the Capacity of the President, which aimed for Congress to define the “body” set out in the 25th Amendment.
This legislation proposed the establishment of a permanent standing body that would be available during any presidential administration. As Raskin stated, “This body will be made up of a group of senior statesmen (former presidents, vice presidents, state secretaries, attorneys general, etc.), doctors and psychiatrists, all carefully selected in a bipartisan and bicameral way to lead the Congress. The committee elects an eleventh member as chairman. It will only conduct a medical examination of the President at the express direction of Congress. And Congress always has the final say under the terms of the 25th Amendment. ”
“Under the 25th Amendment, Congress has a constitutional duty to define the process by which a judgment can be passed on the incapacity of the president if circumstances warrant such a judgment in this or any other government,” Raskin said Two years ago, when he realized this, clarification on the amendment was of “urgent and lasting concern to the security of our nation”.
Congress did not strengthen when Raskin brought up the issue in 2017 and 2o18 as it should have been. So Raskin is back to reintroduce his legislation, and he now appears at the side of the speaker of the house to speak a necessary truth: “The 25th Amendment was passed 50 years ago, but Congress never established the body it needed to determine the President’s suitability in the event of a physical or mental disability. Now is the time for it. ”