Pence Declines to Invoke 25th Amendment, House Passes Second Impeachment Resolution

By Arvind Datta | January 15, 2021
Arvind is a recluse who prefers staying far away from the limelight as possible. Be that as it may, he keeps a close eye on what's happening and reports on it to keep people rightly informed.
“The South China Sea doesn’t belong to any one nation, and you can be sure”, stated U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. (Image: Gage Skidmore via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

The House of Representatives has voted to approve a second impeachment resolution seeking the immediate removal of President Trump from office through the invocation of the 25th Amendment. The Democrat-controlled House passed the resolution with a 223-205 majority vote, including 10 Republicans.

The resolution, put forward by Democrat Jamie Raskin from Maryland, asked Vice President Mike Pence “to immediately use his powers under section 4 of the 25th Amendment to convene and mobilize the principal officers of the executive departments in the Cabinet to declare that the president is unable to successfully discharge the duties of his office [and to assume] the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

The resolution blamed President Trump for the breach of the Capitol where five people died and dozens were injured. A day after the attack, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat leader Chuck Schumer called Pence to discuss the possibility of using the 25th Amendment. But Pence never took the call. 

Democrats attempted to get the 25 Amendment resolution passed through unanimous consent, which Republicans blocked. Pelosi accused Republican members of the House of supporting Trump’s “unhinged, unstable, and deranged acts of sedition to continue.” Pence then wrote a letter to Pelosi, stating that he would never invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office as it would establish a “terrible precedent.”

“Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation… The 25th Amendment was designed to address Presidential incapacity or disability… Under our Constitution, the 25th Amendment is not a means of punishment or usurpation. Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent,” Pence said in the letter. Democrats ignored the letter and went ahead with passing the resolution.

The 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967 in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination

It established a presidential line of succession and set up a process by which the vice president can assume the role of acting president temporarily. If a president is deemed unable to fulfill his duties, section 4 paragraph 1, enables the vice president to remove the president and take up his position. 

If Trump is convicted in the impeachment hearing, the Senate could bar him from running for future office. (Image: pixabay/ CCO 1.0)

Though the 25th Amendment has been used six times in American history, Section 4 has never been invoked. If the amendment does get invoked, which is unlikely given Pence’s opposition, Trump can dispute the claim through a letter to Congress. This will give Congress four days to prepare a counter argument, after which they will hold a vote. 

If both the House and Senate give a two-thirds supermajority in favor of Trump’s removal, Vice President Pence would take over as the acting president until Jan. 20, when Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. 

If Trump is removed through the invocation of the 25th Amendment, he will still have the right to run for president in the future. However, the House recently voted to impeach Trump with a 232-197 vote. The Articles of Impeachment will now go to the Senate, which will vote whether to convict the president or not. If Trump is convicted, the Senate could vote to bar him from running for public office again.

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