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Houston Law Review: Frankel Lecture, Akhil Reed Amar on the 25th Amendment

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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The 14th Annual Frankel Lecture: “25th Amendment: Revisiting Constitutional Provisions for Presidential Succession” is set for November 6th and is now accepting registrations.

November 6, 2009, 8:30am – 10:30am
Doubletree Hotel – Houston Downtown
400 Dallas St., Houston, TX


Keynote Speaker: Professor Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale Law School


Commentator: John D. Feerick, Sidney C. Norris Chair of Law in Public Service, Fordham University School of Law


Commentator: Joel K. Goldstein, Vincent C. Immel Professor of Law, Saint Louis University School of Law

Even as a nation grieved for its fallen president, the machinery of government managed to move forward in the stifl ing confi nes of Air Force One. As Federal District Judge Sarah T. Hughes administered the oath of offi ce to Lyndon Baines Johnson, the Dictaphone captured his pledge:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States and will to the best of my abilities preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.

Amazingly, the Constitution referenced by LBJ at Love Field in Dallas did not specify when and how the vice-president of the United States would assume control in the event of presidential disability or incapacitation. To clarify succession, Congress drafted the 25th Amendment.

Ratified on February 10, 1967, the 25th Amendment has been invoked
six times:

  • Appointment of Gerald Ford as Vice-President (1973)
  • Succession of Gerald Ford to the Presidency (1974)
  • Appointment of Nelson Rockefeller as Vice-President (1974)
  • Acting President George H.W. Bush (1985)
  • Acting President Dick Cheney (2002)
  • Acting President Dick Cheney (2007)

Succession issues commanded headlines during the Clinton impeachment hearings and were debated anew in the 2008 elections. Should we worry about any gaps in the 25th Amendment? And if these gaps exist, how can we as a nation move to correct them? Join us as the Houston Law Review hosts the Frankel Lecture and three Constitutional luminaries as they assess the history, health and welfare of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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