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Constitutional Cliffhangers$
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Brian C. Kalt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780300123517

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300123517.001.0001

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Removing a “Disabled” President

Removing a “Disabled” President

(p.61) 3 Removing a “Disabled” President
Constitutional Cliffhangers

Brian C. Kalt

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the muddy path to determining whether the president is disabled or not: the second of the five steps, in which the vice president and cabinet have four days to re-challenge the president. It is indisputable that Section 4's creators intended for the vice president to remain in charge during this waiting period, and there is ample evidence that Section 4 so provides. Unfortunately, the text of Section 4 is unclear, so it has occasionally been misread as placing the president in charge during the waiting period. As seen in this chapter's hypothetical scenario, if push ever comes to shove, things could go very badly. When Section 4 was being debated, Senator Robert Kennedy worried about a situation in which “[t]here would be two Presidents and two Cabinets.” This skittishness might explain why Section 4 has never been used.

Keywords:   muddy path, vice president, cabinet, Section 4, waiting period, Senator Robert Kennedy

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