A Constitution for the Age of Demagogues: Using the 25th Amendment to Remove an Unfit President

31 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2019 Last revised: 11 Mar 2019

See all articles by Paul Campos

Paul Campos

University of Colorado Law School

Date Written: February 18, 2019


This Article argues that, properly understood, the 25th Amendment is designed to allow the executive and legislative branches, working together, to remove a president from office when it becomes evident that the person elevated to that office by the electoral process is manifestly unsuited for what can, without exaggeration, be described as the most important job in the world.

It argues further that the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency have provided a great deal of evidence for the proposition that President Trump has in fact demonstrated the requisite level of fundamental unfitness for the office that would justify using the 25th Amendment to remove him. This Article also argues that the cultural conditions that brought President Trump to office make it far from unlikely that other occasions to use the 25th Amendment in this way will arise in the foreseeable future.

Our contemporary legal and political culture should embrace the 25th Amendment, suitably modified by Congressional legislation, as an appropriately powerful tool to deal with the present and future forms of radical legal and political dysfunction. In short, the presidency of the United States is too important of a job not to allow for a process – beyond quadrennial elections and quasi-criminal impeachment trials – by which the American people can say to a president, through its elected representatives: You’re fired.

Keywords: Constitutional Law, Law and Society

JEL Classification: K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Campos, Paul, A Constitution for the Age of Demagogues: Using the 25th Amendment to Remove an Unfit President (February 18, 2019). U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19-3, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3346582 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3346582

Paul Campos (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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