Replacing a President

Today, we’re looking at the Twenty-fifth Amendment as we work our way through the Constitution and its amendments.

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XXV.

SECTION 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

SECTION 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

SECTION 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

SECTION 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

This amendment was ratified in 1967 in reaction to the vacancy in the office of Vice-President created when Lyndon Johnson became President upon the death of John Kennedy. Prior to this amendment, there was no provision made for filling the office of Vice-President when a vacancy occurred there.

If a vacancy had occurred in the Presidency prior to this amendment, it would have been filled by the Speaker of the House. Behind him, it would have been the President Pro Tem of the Senate, and then a specified order of cabinet secretaries.

The primary purpose of this amendment was to establish procedure for filling a vacancy in the Vice-Presidency. It came into play almost immediately as Nixon made Spiro T. Agnew a fall guy to try to take heat off the Watergate investigations. Upon his resignation as Vice-President, Nixon nominated Gerald Ford as his replacement. Ford subsequently became the only man ever to serve as President without being elected as either President or Vice-President.

If memory serves, Carl Albert, a Democrat from Oklahoma, was Speaker of the House at the time. If not for this amendment, we would have had a Democrat serving out the term of a Republican elected to be President, a weird situation at best.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Twenty-fourth Amendment

Today, we’re looking at the Twenty-fourth Amendment as we work our way through the Constitution and its amendments.

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XXIV.

SECTION 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

SECTION 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This amendment was ratified in 1964 under the pretense that a $1.75 to $2.00 tax was so onerous it kept black people from being able to vote. The voices supporting this pretense made a racial issue out of it, since racial equality was a popular subject at the time. Never mind that there were more poor white people than poor blacks.

All pretense aside, this was another power grab by the left, using the racial issue as a guise to obscure their real objective. Bulk registration of dead people and people who didn’t care enough to register themselves costs a lot of money when you have to pay a couple of bucks a head to do it. It’s a lot cheaper when there’s no tax.

This amendment is just one more example of the fact that we need to look beyond the rhetoric when politicians speak. What are they really trying to hide behind their overt talk and actions? What significance will this action have over and beyond the obvious result publicized as the intent of those behind it?

It is said that you can tell when a politician is lying because his (or her) mouth is moving. It’s a little more difficult sometimes to see the real purpose and effect of the actions a politician espouses. We, as citizens, need to be more aware of the need to dig beyond the obvious and see what these people are really trying to accomplish.

What legitimate reasons can you think of for constantly trying to make it easier and easier to register people to vote who are not interested or informed enough to do so themselves?

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Power Politics

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

We’re slowly working our way through the Constitution and its amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Twenty-third Amendment.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XXIII.

SECTION 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:

A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

SECTION 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

When the nation was founded, the District of Columbia was set up as an entity of its own, separate from any state. As such, it had no Congressional representation and no voice in Presidential elections. In fact, it’s not really even self-governing, but is ruled directly by Congress.

In 1960 the Democrats won the White House back after 8 years of Republican occupancy, and they sought to strengthen their chances of holding it. Knowing that a huge percentage of the population of the District of Columbia consisted of federal employees, who were overwhelmingly Democrat, they put forth this amendment to give themselves three fairly safe electoral votes.

They also controlled most state governments at that time, so ratification was a simple matter for them. Politics has always been a dirty business, and this was power politics at its dirtiest.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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How Long Is Too Long?

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

We’re slowly working our way through the Constitution and its amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Twenty-second Amendment.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XXII.

SECTION 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term of which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

SECTION 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

This amendment was passed in reaction to the four-term Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Prevailing wisdom was that eight years was a long enough time for any one man to hold that office; thus the amendment.

Although Ronald Reagan, arguably the greatest of our Presidents, undoubtedly could have won had he been eligible to run again, history proved the efficacy of this limitation when he later developed Alzheimer’s. He might have developed it while he held the reins if not for this amendment.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Repeal of Prohibition

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

We’re slowly working our way through the Constitution and its amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Twenty-First Amendment.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XXI.

SECTION 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

SECTION 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

SECTION 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Another short amendment that requires no particular explanation. We made a mistake with Prohibition, and this amendment corrected that mistake.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Twentieth Amendment

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

We’re slowly working our way through the Constitution and its amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Twentieth Amendment.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XX.

SECTION 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

This section changed the date a President-elect became President. Previously, that took place in March, but under this provision the date was moved up to January 20 following the election. The reasoning behind this change was that four months was too long a time of limbo between the election and the inauguration.

SECTION 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

The only provision for meetings in the original Constitution was that Congress should meet at least once a year on the first Monday in December unless Congress itself should provide otherwise by law. This section changed that and mandated that the Congress begin its annual sessions on January 3rd.

The effect of this change has been to keep these politicians at work year-round coming up with schemes to pass more and more federal programs. In the first century-plus of our history, the government stayed pretty much out of the way of the people, with the exception of when northern politicians decided to shove their will down the throats of the South. Since the ratification of this amendment, our history has been a steady march of bigger and bigger government taking over one thing after another that had previously been the right and responsibility of individuals.

SECTION 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

SECTION 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

SECTION 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

SECTION 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

The last four sections of this amendment were merely a matter of housekeeping.

How do you feel about the wisdom of keeping a bunch of politicians in session year-round dreaming up new ways to extend the power of the federal government?

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Nineteenth Amendment

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

We’re slowly working our way through the Constitution and its amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Nineteenth Amendment.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XIX.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Up until this time, only men voted, but this extended that right to women also.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Prohibition

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

We’re slowly working our way through the Constitution and its amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Eighteenth Amendment.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XVIII.

SECTION 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

SECTION 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

SECTION 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

This was probably the second worst amendment, next to the income tax. Regardless of whether or not you approve of the consumption of alcohol, Prohibition did not accomplish its purpose. It merely gave rise to a new class of criminals such as Al Capone and Joe Kennedy who made millions and millions of dollars importing whiskey illegally. It was rescinded a few years later.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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Seventeenth Amendment

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

We’re slowly working our way through the Constitution and its amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Seventeenth Amendment.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XVII.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

This amendment changes the method of choosing members of the U. S. Senate. Prior to the ratification of this amendment, senators were chosen under Article I, Section 3, which reads: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years . . .

Although we tended to have real statesmen under the old system rather than politicians more intent on re-election than serving the nation well, for some reason the populism movement caused us to make this change.

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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The Worst Amendment

This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.

We’re slowly working our way through the Constitution and its amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Sixteenth Amendment.

Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.

ARTICLE XVI.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

This simple little statement has caused immeasurable damage to our nation’s economy since it was ratified. I cannot fathom what was going on in the minds of our leaders in Washington at the time. William Howard Taft was President, and Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.

As so frequently happens, no one thought about the door that was opened for the future. The maximum rate of the first income tax was only seven per cent. Sounds harmless enough. Unfortunately, though, the rates went from one per cent up to seven per cent, setting up the precedent for graduated taxation.

Fast forward a century, and we have a situation in which around half of the adult population pays no income taxes at all. Of those who do, some pay fifteen per cent, and some pay nearly forty per cent. Is there really anything fair about taxing this guy one rate and that guy another and these people not at all?

By its very nature, a graduated income tax takes the most money from the hands of the people who would use it to build the economy—the entrepreneurs and other achievers. Every dollar taken from these people is a dollar that cannot be used to build a better mousetrap or discover a new medical procedure. Those dollars are then spent to support people who produce nothing to build our economy—welfare recipients, government bureaucrats, and the ruling elite. This is folly of an unbelievable magnitude.

If they were going to authorize an income tax, they should have made it a part of the Constitutional amendment that EVERYONE would pay the same percentage of his or her total income. That’s the only way it could ever be fair.

Better still would have been to pass a national sales tax. Everyone would pay the same rate and only on money spent. Money saved and invested would avoid taxation, building the nation’s money supply, which generates growth in jobs, dividends, and every other part of our economy.

Isn’t it time to repeal this amendment and replace it with something that would be both fair to all citizens and good for our national economy?

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Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:

“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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