Rose McDermott


Because the framers of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment were so prescient in their creation of this legislation, it behooves subsequent scholars to examine additional potential concerns that would not have entered the debate forty years ago. Huge advances have been made in the area of biological and genetic medical knowledge, and this progress could not have been foreseen at the time the original Amendment was written. Yet in the interim, such information has become much more accessible. It becomes important to raise these questions moving forward because political opponents may take advantage of these new concerns, as they arise, and use them for personal political advantage to the detriment of the legitimacy of American political governance.

As a result, the concerns addressed in this Article regard future assessments of disability, and which factors concerning potential future vulnerability to particular diseases or impairments might warrant the determination of such disability. To be clear, these questions remain open in Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, and yet they concern important factors in deciding what constitutes sufficient disability to remove a President from office. This Article begins with an outline of some of these factors, provides two illustrative examples, and then concludes with suggestions about how to address some of the concerns.

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