HOUSTON – The 25th Amendment became part of the Constitution in 1967 after being ratified by the states.
The law essentially lays out what happens if a president is removed from office, either temporarily or permanently. It also allows for the president to be removed if the person becomes unable to do the job or becomes sick or disabled.
Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston, said the crux of the law is to lay out a mechanism by which the vice president and a majority of the cabinet can temporarily remove a president from office.
Blackman said if eight of the 15 cabinet members and the vice president agree the president cannot discharge the duties of the office, the president is relieved of power.
“(That then triggers) a process where the president could potentially get his powers back in four days or potentially three weeks,” Blackman said.
The president would then have to appeal to Congress to return power. Congress then has 21 days to vote on the question.
“They would need two-thirds in the House and two-thirds in the Senate to vote for removal,” Blackman said.
The law also allows the president to nominate a vice president in the event of a vacancy in that office. It also provides that a president can remove themselves if they feel they are unable to discharge the duties of the office.