These are dark days in the history of the United States, and no one is feeling them more intensely than Mike Pence.
On Wednesday, the vice president admirably turned aside the president’s high-intensity demands that he shred the Constitution. President Trump was pushing Pence to usurp the states’ power over the disposition of their electoral votes — in effect, to claim dictatorial power to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Pence’s fidelity to his constitutional oath so enraged Trump that the president publicly rebuked him even as an insurrectionist mob was descending on the Capitol. Press reports indicate that the rioters, upon overwhelming security forces and entering the building, set about searching for Pence — who, by then, had been whisked away while members of Congress were also being safeguarded.
WHAT IS THE 25TH AMENDMENT AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
The vice president and congressional leadership were intrepid in returning to their important business Wednesday night.
HOUSE REPUBLICAN CALLS FOR 25TH AMENDMENT TO BE INVOKED AGAINST TRUMP
But even before the electoral votes were finally counted and Biden was recognized as the next president, calls were coming from both sides of the political aisle for Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump from power with less than two weeks to go in his term. To do so would not be as grave an offense against the Constitution as would have been acceding to Trump’s unhinged demands. But make no mistake, it would be unconstitutional.
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The 25th Amendment is not a substitute for impeachment. It is a necessary process to deal with a specific kind of dire situation, namely, when the president is by some medical emergency rendered unable to perform the duties of the presidency.
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The amendment is meant for such situations as President Woodrow Wilson’s stroke or presidential assassinations which, as our history illustrates, sometimes require life-saving emergency surgery or tragically find stricken presidents lingering a while before expiring.
The amendment is not applicable to a situation in which the president is alleged to be unfit for reasons of character, or due to the commission of political offenses that may rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.
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