The Presidency: Starting to Settle The Succession Question

THE PRESIDENCY

On Aug. 27, 1787, John Dickinson of Delaware, a member of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, raised a ticklish question relating to the matter of succession in the event of a President's disability. "What is the extent of the term 'disability,' " asked Dickinson, "and who is to be the judge of it?" The question was swiftly referred to a committee — where it stayed.

Last week, 177 years later, the U.S. Congress came close to providing an answer. By a vote of 368 to 29, the House of Representatives passed a resolution proposing a constitutional amendment which provides that:

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