Tuesday, February 10, 2015



Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Forty-eight years ago today, February 10, 1967, the Twenty-fifth amendment to the United States Constitution became the law of the land when it was approved by the state of Nevada.  Montana was the 37th state to ratify earlier on the same day.

On November 22, 1963, there was some confusion as to whether Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson had become President upon the death of JFK or if he needed to be sworn-in to assume the office.

Of additional concern was the realization that there was no constitutional provision for the replacement of the Vice-President.  

After he took the oath aboard Air Force One in Dallas about two hours after JFK's death, President Johnson served out the remainder of Mr. Kennedy's term without benefit of a Vice-President.

LBJ Swearing-In
November 22, 1963
Dallas, Texas
Photo by Cecil W. Stoughton
LBJ Library Image

The proposed 25th Amendment was passed by Congress on July 6, 1965 and then went to the states for ratification.

Tennessee ratified on January 12, 1967, and all but 3 states eventually followed. North Dakota, Georgia and South Carolina have never ratified the 25th Amendment.

The amendment has been applied six times to date.  The first was when President Richard M. Nixon appointed Gerald R. Ford to replace resigned Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew and the last was when President George W. Bush temporarily transferred power to Vice-President Richard Cheney while he underwent a colonoscopy.

25th Amendment

25th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

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

2. Where there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice-President, the President shall nominate a Vice-President who shall take office upon confirmation...

3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House...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...

4.  See United States Constitution, 25th Amendment.