The Year We Had No President

The Year We Had No President

The Year We Had No President

The Year We Had No President

Excerpt

The subject of this book is as important as the office of the United States Presidency itself. The constitutional uncertainties of presidential inability cause it to be one of the few areas where there is general agreement among legislators, political scientists, and constitutional lawyers that there is a need for corrective action by constitutional amendment. Nevertheless, no proposed amendment has ever been brought to a vote in either house of the Congress. Since the illnesses of President Eisenhower, no session of Congress has passed without the introduction of one or more proposed amendments dealing with this problem. In 1958 and again in 1959, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments favorably reported proposed amendments but no further action was taken.

I do not believe that the failure of Congress to approve a constitutional amendment and present it to the states for ratification is due to indifference or apathy. It is due instead to disagreement and doubt as to the form which a constitutional amendment should take. Any proposal is necessarily a procedure which would divest a duly elected President of the powers of that office. We wrestle with delicate problems touching upon the fundamental principles of separation of powers and the coordinate independence of the separate branches of government. This is all the more reason to continue and step up the quest for a constitutional solution. The demands of the nuclear age upon the office of President require that the discharge of its duties never be in suspension or uncertainty.

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments, I have observed increased interest in this question, but there continues to be wide variation in the approaches taken by those who work for a solution. The Year We Had No President is a unique and valuable contribution to the literature of this subject and it should increase public awareness of the implications of this serious . . .

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