Introduction: Presidential disability and presidential succession

Robert E. Gilbert, Edward W. Brooke, Erik P. Bucy

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This introduction to the special issue on presidential disability and succession focuses on the distinctly positive contributions that invocations of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment have made to American political life since the Amendment's ratification in 1967. It also underlines the importance for Presidents, their family members and aides to understand the necessity for putting the welfare of the country first, above all else-even at times above the wishes of a disabled Chief Executive. As the articles in this special issue make clear, the Twenty-Fifth Amendment provides an effective constitutional mechanism by which the country's well-being can be maintained while simultaneously showing compassion and respect for a disabled leader. The idea for this issue emerged from a conference organized by Professor Robert E. Gilbert focusing on presidential disability and succession held on the campus of Northeastern University in April 2014. Papers from the conference assembled here clarify and add to the historical record about presidential inability while illuminating the many political, legal, and constitutional contingencies that future presidential administrators may face. Contributors to this issue have varied disciplinary and professional backgrounds, including expertise in American politics, constitutional law, the presidency and vice presidency, presidential impairment, and, of course, the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-10
Number of pages9
JournalPolitics and the Life Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Presidential disability
  • Twenty-Fifth Amendment
  • presidential powers and duties
  • presidential succession
  • transfer of power


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