This article describes occasions when presidents have suffered from psychological illness and analyzes the challenges posed by psychological illness in presidents. It begins with an explanation of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment’s provisions and an overview of significant cases of presidents suffering physical illnesses. Next, the Article turns its focus to two presidents, Franklin Pierce (1853-1857) and Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929), who suffered psychological illnesses that were perhaps even more debilitating than the physical ailments that other presidents suffered. These cases are then contrasted with President Abraham Lincoln, who, unlike Pierce and Coolidge, had a highly successful presidency despite appearing to suffer from depression. The Article proceeds to a discussion of the challenges that arise when a president suffers from mental illness, particularly those related to diagnosis and invocation of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. The final section advances recommendations related to presidential disability and the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.
Robert E. Gilbert,
Presidential Disability and the Twenty-Fifth Amendment: The Difficulties Posed By Psychological Illness,
79 Fordham L. Rev. 843
Available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/flr/vol79/iss3/5