Be Careful With The 25th Amendment

Below is my column in USA Today on the call to use the 25th Amendment to “remove” President Donald Trump. As a threshold matter, the 25th Amendment does not “remove” a president but rather shifts his powers to the Vice President. The only method for removal of a president from office is impeachment. The 25th Amendment refers to the Vice President as “acting” in his capacity.  However, “removal” is a common way of expressing the substitution under the 25th Amendment. The main problem is not the nomenclature but the standard. Section 4 actions under the amendment are designed for physical or mental incapacities. Such evidence may exist but it has not been disclosed. Vice President Mike Pence would need to disclose such evidence of mental illness or irrationality in the President. The speech alone is not a basis for a 25th Amendment “removal.”

This week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is continuing to call for the invocation of the 25th Amendment or impeachment as alternative courses of action.  She and others have expressed a preference for the 25th Amendment due to the limited time remaining before President Trump leaves office.  However, neither time nor the text for a 25th Amendment action is supportive in this effort. More importantly, without such clear evidence of mental incapacity, the use of the 25th Amendment could introduce even greater instability in our system.

Here is the column:

Herman Wouk’s novel “The Caine Mutiny” is an American classic of the effort by a crew to remove a mentally unstable captain. Even before the riot in Congress, the movie came to mind as President Donald Trump was delivering an unhinged diatribe blocks away on how the election was stolen. If you replaced the word “election” with “strawberries,” you had the speech of Captain Philip Francis Queeg in the novel. However, now there are reportedly some within the administration who want to push for a type of twilight removal under the 25th Amendment.

The problem is the same as the one identified in “The Caine Mutiny”: “Remember this, if you can — there is nothing, nothing more precious than time. You probably feel you have a measureless supply of it, but you haven’t.”

This is not the first time that the 25th Amendment has been raised. Almost immediately after his inauguration, Democrats and the media called for the removal of Trump through impeachment or the 25th Amendment. Various liberal psychologists held forth on alleged mental illness without the benefit of any examination. 

The animosity toward Trump led to the abandonment of the “Goldwater Rule.” The American Psychiatric Association adopted the rule to deter doctors from making unethical diagnoses of individuals without evaluating them. The cause for the rule was a disgraceful campaign featuring psychiatrists who claimed that Barry Goldwater was mentally ill to influence the election against President Lyndon Johnson.

The danger of such claims is manifestly obvious. The 25th Amendment was primarily designed for physical disabilities of a president. It is astonishing that there remained a glaring uncertainty in our Constitution until 1967 on how to handle a president suffering from an incapacity.

It was not something that the Framers did not contemplate. The issue was raised in the Constitutional Convention in 1787 by Delegate John Dickinson of Delaware, but it was left unaddressed. The issue still remained unaddressed when President William Henry Harrison died a month after taking office. It was not until President Dwight Eisenhower suffered a stroke that serious efforts were made toward an amendment — a move that accelerated after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Various presidents have used the amendment to temporarily transfer power during surgeries or brief incapacities. The nuclear option, under Section 4, has never been used.

To do so with a perceived mental disability is a particular concern. As shown by the Goldwater controversy, there are always psychiatrists willing and eager to declare a president insane even from a distance. Politicians often portray their opponents as mentally unbalanced since only an insane person would hold an opposing view some issues. If we were to remove a president on such a basis, it could open the floodgates for such removals in the future.

Democrats have vividly shown this danger with calls for impeachment for issues ranging from Trump’s criticism of the NFL kneelers to his tweets. The same could be true with the 25th Amendment.

The 25th Amendment is designed to address constitutional, not character, flaws. Trump’s speech Wednesday was not just unpresidential but reckless. He actively encouraged the protesters to march on Congress, and the speech was timed to end just before the proceedings in the joint session to count electoral votes.

Trump was preceded by his son, Donald Jr., who whipped the crowd into a frenzy with such lines as, “If you’re gonna be the zero and not the hero, we’re coming for you and we’re going to have a good time doing it.” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani declared that it was time for “trial by combat.” It was a shameful and inciteful display.

However, Trump’s speech alone is not evidence of incapacity or insanity. Being obnoxious and narcissistic is not grounds for removal. Indeed, such a standard would leave much of Washington vacant.

Even if there were evidence to support such a move, it would result in a likely removal for just four days. Under Section 4, Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet can sign a declaration to Congress that Trump is incapable of holding office. In such a highly unlikely circumstance, Pence would immediately assume power. However, Trump would have four days to object. In that case, Pence and the Cabinet would have to send a second declaration. The Congress would then have to vote by two-thirds vote to remove the president. That is, both chambers (unlike impeachment, which only requires a two-third vote on the Senate). Congress has 21 days for that vote, but for Trump, it would have to happen virtually immediately to beat the natural end of his presidency. Congress can also create a body to make such a finding of disability, but that would likely take even more time.

Of course, if Congress can secure a second declaration from Pence, it could run out the clock on the vote and leave Trump in constitutional quarantine until Jan. 20. The vote would then become moot.

Yet, what would be achieved? Trump has already pledged an orderly transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden. In order to impose this ignoble moment on Trump, the Congress would create precedent for future such removals on ill-defined mental disabilities. If it wanted to do this, it should have moved years ago.

As stated in “The Caine Mutiny,” “wasted hours destroy your life just as surely at the beginning as at the end — only in the end it becomes more obvious.” For naval mutinies and presidential removals, there is nothing more precious or flitting than time.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter: @JonathanTurley

166 thoughts on “Be Careful With The 25th Amendment”

  1. Impetuous Nancy sometimes blurts out before she has an opportunity to think things through ??  If Trump can be impeached for inciting a riot, can Ms Pelousi be impeached for same? Surely, if she persists, the events of January 6 will look like just a warm-up for the really BIG show she will provoke!

  2. Jonathan.

    Could you then, please, tell us HOW we can bring Donald J Trump, to justice, now?
    Thank you.

    1. Indeed Andy. Given his enabling of Trump and his protection of him during his 1st impeachment, Turley has similar responsibilities as the GOP for removing him and the stench.

      To quote Adam Schiff during those hearings:

      “Can you have the least bit of confidence that Donald Trump will stand up to them and protect our national interest over his own personal interest? You know you can’t, which makes him dangerous to this country,”You know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country,”

      1. You really want to go back to the first impeachment ?

        How do you think history is going to remember you for trying to remove a president for asking for an investigation into actual political corruption that you claimed was russian disinformation ?

        Why aren’t you hanging your head in shame ?

        Do you understand that among the many reasons that a plurality of people beleive the election was stolen is that you and your ilk are bat$hit crazy.

        The reason that Turley and myriads of liberal are slowly drifting right is that you are bat$hit xrazy.

        If I had been spewing 1/10 the nonsense you have – I would be hoping no one on the planet could ever figure out who I was.

        I would run off to a monestary in shame.

      2. Who in their right mind would EVER quote “pile of schiff” ?

        Mister Collusion Delusion himself.

      3. As to Schiff’s quote.

        Inarguable Trump has severed the interests of the country.

        Democrats face a huge problem in a few days – for all his flaws Trump has easily been the best president in the 21st century,

        And Biden and democrats are going to be measured against him.

        Trump has set standards you must live up to.

        We now know 3% grow in the 21st century is possible and sustainable.
        We know that it is not necescary to send US troops all over the globe.
        We know that China can be reigned in.
        We have allies in Asia that Obama pissed on.
        We know that Iran is dangerous but otherwise inconsequential – they are NOT an ally.
        We know that Europe can stand up to Russia, that US troops do not have to be the first line of defense for the world.

        And on and on and on.

        Have fun doing better.

        And you can piss on Trump all you want.
        You are still being measured against him.
        And you are going to be found wanting
        And you know it
        and that is what you are so angry about.

        1. GDP growth under Trump:

          2017: +2.3%

          2018: +3%

          2019: +2.2%

          2020: -3.7%

          2018 is when his billionaire stimulus plan with $1 trillion deficit came into effect.

          GDP growth under Obama:

          2009: -2.5%

          2010: +2.6%

          2011: +1.6%

          2012: +2.2%

          2013: +1.8%

          2014: +2.5%

          2015: +3.1%

          2016: +1.7%

          Here’s a look at average GDP growth rates under the last six U.S. presidents:

          Jimmy Carter (D): 3.25%

          Ronald Reagan (R): 3.48%

          George H.W. Bush (R): 2.25%

          Bill Clinton (D): 3.88%

          George W. Bush (R): 2.2%

          Barack Obama (D): 1.62%

          Donald Trump (R): 0.95%

          1. Not only are your figures wrong – they do not even agree.
            You provide a list for Obama and an average and the average is clearly not the average of the list.
            You provide a list for Trump and an average and the average is clearly not the average of the list.

            Whatever the source of your numer

            Trading Economics is currently predicting the 2020 GDP growth for the year to be 0%.

            That would mean that Trump bested Obama’s average by 0.2%/year (your numbers).
            over 4 years one of which contained the worst quarter in all US history with a 30% quarterly loss and an 8% annual loss.
            That year also contained the highest growth in GDP in a single quarter ever recorded 33.4%.

            While Obama took office at the bottom of a recession and nowhere to go but up, and still failed.

            1. I provided the link to my figures which are ultimately from the Federal Reserve. John pulls his from his butt.

              The average over 4 or 8 years may not be the same as the average for those 4 or 8 yearly averages

              1. JF – I have no idea where your figures came from. You say the federal reserve.

                I do not know if you made an error, the Fed made an error, or you are lying about your source.
                But I do know math – they do not add up.

                My figures on GDP and GDP growth come from Trading Economics – they provide lots of data and projections for countries accross the world.
                They are non partisan. They tend to match the Fed for the past, The Fed is one of their sources. But they also do projections based on reliable sources.

                “The average over 4 or 8 years may not be the same as the average for those 4 or 8 yearly averages”

                Really ? Only a left wing nut could make such a stupid argument.

                Sum(1..4)/4 = Sum(1..4)/4

                A is A.

                The past year has been absolutely insane – it had the worst single quarter loss in GDP EVER as a consequence of deliberate lockdowns.
                It also had the best single quarter growth in US history.

                It was a messy yoyo year. It was inarguably a bad year economically – though it is still in doubt whether growth for the year will be negative – it certainly will not be strongly negative.

                Regardless trump’s 4 year average – exceeds Obama/Biden’s 8 year average.

                And that is amazing. Even people who do not understand the math or GDP, can understand that the Obama Biden recovery was incredibly weak. The 1.8% average (or worse according to you 1.6% average is horrible after a recession. Recovery should have been swift and dramatic. You can credit Trump or not for the drop and recovery in 2020. But you can not claim that it is not possible to recover rapidly.
                That has been proven.

                There are now strong indications that the economy is headed into a second dip.
                That is unlikely to be as bad as the first. But it is also likely to be harder to recover from and last much longer.

                Many many Businesses that recovered from the first collapse – will not recover from the 2nd.

                I would further note – and I gave this advice to Trump and republicans – Stimulus is NONSENSE. It does not work. Even according to Keyness discredited economics – the Stimlulus of Trump and now Biden will not work. It was/is just a waste of money.

                GDP is the value who produce – not the money we have.

                I would further note that we are getting more and more studies and more and more experts are slowly taking their heads out of their asses and admitting what was obvious from the start.

                Lockdowns do not work. Masks do not work. They provide little or no benefit and the harm they do is enormous.

                Even YOUR experts accross the world are starting to be honest about this.

                Over the course of 3 months religously wearing an n95 mask reduces you chance of catching Covid by 15-20%.
                Over a year – that is only 3-5%. real world data from Denmark confirmed by studies eleswhere.

                Several comparisons between mandatory government policies, and voluntary ones have demonstrated that mandatory ones might make Covid worse and they do not make it better.

                The fact is there is nothing that will work against a respiratory virus with a transmission rate of 2.4-3.8 .

                The most effective method of dealing with an epidemic is quarantine – this has been known for centuries.

                It has also been known that the more contageous the virus the more rigorus the quarantine must be.

                It is likely that a 97% effective quarantine is not sufficient to thwart C19. Why would you expect a 77% effective mask ?

                Math – you should learn some. It only takes 2 exposures with an n95 mask to be 60% likely to have gotten C19.
                And with each exposure the odds decline.

                All the mandatory government measure do is buy time at a veryt high price – while prolonging the risk and ending up with the same outcome just over a longer time frame.

                I have been drilling this all in for 9 months – and faced idiotic criticism by those like you the whole time.
                And here we are – I have been proven right – which was certain – it is just math – something clearly outside your skill.

                1. My link is clear and obvious in the text of my posts. If John Say doesn’t know where my figures come from, he is beyond help.

                  I repeat: The average over 4 or 8 years may not be the same as the average for those 4 or 8 yearly averages

                  1. “My link is clear and obvious in the text of my posts. If John Say doesn’t know where my figures come from, he is beyond help.”

                    All of that is irrelevant. You math is wrong. I do not know or care if that error is yours or the Fed’s.

                    “I repeat: The average over 4 or 8 years may not be the same as the average for those 4 or 8 yearly averages”

                    This is just about the stupidest argument I have ever heard

                    1) You are quite literally arguing that the commutative and distributive laws of mathematics do not exist.

                    2). You are arguing that we should trust your claims as being significant – even though by YOUR (false) CLAIMS – you will get different results if you do the math differently.

                    3). You are asking people to blind themselves to reality. Anyone who can vote lived through the past 12 years. We may not know the Fed numbers, but we know the difference between eight long years of Obama/Biden economic stagnation, and the more normal growth under Trump. Trump’s growth was not spectacular – it was just normal. Maybe not even that. But it was a dramatic improvment over that of Bush and Obama.

                    While I can prove that with numbers, and data. I do not have to. People lived it.

                  2. Either you or the fed made a math error.

                    I do not care which.

                    I do not give a $hit about trivial differences between Fed GDP figures and those of TE.
                    The only relevant issue their is to avoid mixing data from different sources. Atleast you did not make that error.

                    But you are arguing that the laws of mathmatics do not apply.

    2. That presumes there is an injustice to be corrected – there is not.

      Your neurosis is not injustice.

      Grow up, become a real adult, take responsibility for your ownlife.

      Sunshine go away today, I don’t feel much like dancing
      Some man’s come he’s trying to run my life, don’t know what he’s asking
      When he tells me I better get in line, can’t hear what he’s saying
      When I grow up, I’m gonna make him mine, these ain’t dues I been paying

      How much does it cost?
      I’ll buy it!
      The time is all we’ve lost
      I’ll try it!
      He can’t even run his own life,
      I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine — sunshine …

  3. “ President Mike Pence would need to disclose such evidence of mental illness or irrationality in the President.”

    Well the irrationality is already self evident. He continues to believe he won the election based on a miriad of debunked conspiracy theories and claims.

    The fact that he is obsessed with the issue so much that he’s neglecting his other duties also means it’s affecting his capacity.

    Invoking the 25th should be an easy decision. Problem is most of his enablers can’t bring themselves to do it because it would mean confirmation that Trump is unfit for the office. That would be too much of an admission for his inner circle to handle. It would mean a realization that they are also part of the problem.

    1. A plurality of the country beleives he likely won.
      That is not irrational.

      You beleive in CAGW that is completely irrational.

      You beleive in the collusion delusion.

      Any standard you use to claim Trump is irrational – will with certainty fail.
      Worse it also applies to YOU.

    2. The words “debunked conspiracy theory” coming from left wing nuts such as yourself is synonymous with “true”

      Do we need to go through the long list of debunked conspiracy theories you have beleived ?

      Do we need to go through the long list of things you have claimed were debunked conspiracy theories that are clearly true ?

      You actually impeach Trump once for asking for a legitimate investigation while claiming that the misconduct of Hunter and Joe Biden was russian disinformation and debunked conspiracy theories.


      Joe MacCarthy atleast had the good sense to drown in his bottle and go away.

      You should be embarassed to be seen in public after the nonsense you have offered.

      Do you understand that one of the reasons that a plurality of the country beleives the election was stolen is not merely the facts about the lawless and fraudulent election – but it your relentless stupid lies over the past 4 years.

      Much of the country does not trust you – for very good reason.

      Much of the country is far more likely to beleive trump blindly than to beleive what you claim is fact. Why ?

      Because on slanderous assertion after slanderous assertion – Trump has been right and you have been wrong.

      Trump is loud and obnoxious – but the actual lies, the real violations of the norms are YOURS.

      People do not trust you, They do not trust democrats, they do not trust the left, they do not trust government.

      Lying has consequences.

      And the big tech efforts at censorship only undercut your credibility further.

      What are you hiding ?

      Why must opposing views be silenced ?

      Because they are bad ? Or because they are right ?

    3. Please read the 25th amendment.

      It does not accomplish anything you actually want.

    4. Trump owns an unbeleiveable amount of space in your head.

      You are terified that he will remain president for another 5 days.
      Really ?

      You are terrified that he will be able to run again in 2024 ?
      Really ?

      If you have confidence in yourselves – you should not have to worry about Trump.

      Over and over you insist on Making Trump the focus of everything after he is out of office.

      If you want to be stupid. If you want 4 more years of Trump in the headlines every day.

      Those who though Biden was a return to normalicy are idiots – but many biden votes rest on that premise.

      Go ahead burn them.

      Regardless, you are like the dog that caught the truck and now does not know what to do with it.

      You got what you wanted – now you are about to be run over by it.

  4. ” Trump has already pledged an orderly transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden.”

    Trump disavowed the video in which he made this comment the same night. Anyone taking Trump’s word for anything at this point is themself deranged.

    1. Then you can provide that “disavowal”.

      Trump has repeatedly insisted that the fight against the fraudulent election will continue.
      As it should – and democrats should be very concerned.

      All these court cases you claimed Trump last sought TRO’s or the equivalent – the burden is very high.

      Many of these cases are ongoing – though often stalled by the courts.

      Eventually these cases will proceed into discovery. While there is little in the way of remedy available, it is entirely likely that the degree of fraud will be established as sufficient to flip the election.

      Even if that is not the case – it is near certain that lots of fraud or misconduct will be established. Which damages the legitimacy of the government, and damages democrats particularly.

      1. I’m actually saddened that so many of you are in such deep denial of reality. Maybe you’ll answer the next call to defend a pathological liar who only cares about himself.

        1. Facts, logic reason.

          a credible accusation that another is denying reality requires that you know reality – which you do not.

          Claims that someone is a pathological liar from those who have spent the last 4 years selling lie after lie are not credible.

          You are not trusted. You earned that.

            1. Last rasmussen has Trump at 46% – that is not below 30.

              Confidence in the election has actually DECLINED slowly since the election – including after events at the capital.
              It has declined among republicans, it has declined among independents.

              Regardless – if you really beleive you have the support of the people and Trump does not – why are you so terrified ?

              Why are 25,000 troops needed to protect the inauguration ? There are not that many troops in Afghaistan.

              Why are only 200 prostestors being allowed in ALL OF DC and those only in free speech cages.

              Isn;t free speech and protest something permitted throughout DC ?

              It is hard to tell what you are even worried about – Trump supporters ? The military ? Aparently you now think that many soldiers – people who have risked their lives for this country are dangerous and seditious and need purged. Do you really think this is such a good idea ?

              Why are you so afraid of the people ?

              In 2016 protestors and supporters swarmed the city. The supporters were peaceful. The protestors broke windows and looted and committed some arson -though tame compared to that of 2020 riots. No one called in the army. Before or during.

              Should you be worried ? Absolutely ! You do not have the consent of the governed.

              The fact that a plurality of the people beleive the election was stolen makes the danger – in a wide variety of ways some more and some less violent very high.

              You speak of insurection – while that is not what I see YET, at the same time you fail to grasp that insurection and sedition are the legitimate responses to illegitimate government.

              I would be very careful with your words. You keep jumping to every greater hyperbole.

              What do you do when ranting that people are engaged in insurection

              In a recent yougov polls 28% of republicans strongly opposed the Capital protests. 29% strongly approved.

              Do you understand how big a problem it is that 29% of republicans essentially have no problem with what you are calling an insurection ?

              Keep it up – support for actual insureection for actual sedition will grow.

              45%of republicans support what happened at the capital.
              21% of voters support it.

              These are approaching the support that the american revolution had when it took place.

              strong support for the american revolution was about 17%, total support was about 35%, about equal numbers opposed the majority stood back and watched.

              According to YouGov 52% of republicans think Biden is responsible for the violence. Only 26% of republicans think Trump is.

              I am not pretending this numbers are those of a majority of people – but they are still very large numbers.

              They are the numbers of institutions suffering a crisis in legitimacy.

              You have gotten us all into very dangerous teritiory. Trade carefully.



  5. “However, Trump’s speech alone is not evidence of incapacity or insanity.”

    If Trump’s recent behaviour is not evidence of mental incapacity I struggle to conceive of behaviour that would be!!!

    1. Then struggle away.

      Hopefully you will never be subject to the third party evaluations of your capacity with the decisions of others determining your rights and liberty as you choose to impose on others.

  6. Free speech is only for Liberals on social media. Conservative speech needs its own paywall, platform and infrastructure in order to be free.

  7. Turley claims that Trump’s flaws are that he is “obnoxious” and “narcissistic”. Yes, both are true, but the issue with Trump is that he is also a sociopath. He lacks any semblance of empathy, and there is literally no low to which he would not stoop–nothing that would be beneath him. He wanted the US presidency for the power and prestige. He has the power, but has never had the prestige because most people walking the earth are repulsed by his arrogance, ignorance, lying, lack of leadership skills, and lack of patriotism. It is the fact that he continues to hold power that is the concern. His narcissism prevents him from even considering the fact that the majority of Americans rejected him–in 2016 and in 2020, so he lies. His racist followers believe whatever lie he tells, and despite court after court rejecting his claims of a stolen election, he keeps stirring them up with the lie that their vote was stolen, egging them to fight for their rights. He won’t stop because his narcissism and sociopathy prevent him. He still has power, including nuclear power, and there are still 9 days left, plus the promise to run again. He must be stopped. Permanently. Despite Turley’s claims that he is not disabled as contemplated by the 25th Amendment, and that invoking it could start a dangerous precedent, consider this: America has never had anyone in the White House as impaired by his own narcissism and sociopathy as Trump. He is an unabashed pathological liar. Those present say that he watched the insurrection with joy and glee as proof of his power and that he is loved. What does that tell you? His emotional problems impair his judgment, and he simply cannot stop lying about losing the election. He enjoyed the insurrection. He might well stir up another one. He must have all powers removed. Immediately. One way or another.

    1. “He has the power…”

      Not really. Trump has been rolled and thwarted every step of the way by all the other ‘powers that be.’

  8. This 25th Amendment threat is just a trial run. Today, you’re the President-Elect; tomorrow, you’re just another racist. And they’ll find some woman who HAS TO BE BELIEVED, if that’s what it takes. The radicals want Kamala. Joe is just an empty vessel to them.

    I would beg the President-Elect to discourage this and subsequent unconstitutional coup efforts. Donald won’t be the first target and Joe won’t be the last.

    I invite the President-Elect to consider a strategy of triangulation. Why should Joe Biden spend the pinnacle of his career being a tool for Obama, Clinton, and Harris? The east-coast financiers don’t want the west-coast tech Marxists running the world anyway.

    Get an understanding with Republicans about protecting free speech and immigration, and Kamala Harris will give the GOP plenty of reasons for Joe Biden to serve a full and successful term. Please, triangulate a safe distance from Harris and Pelosi.

    I’m making a sincere suggestion, Mr. President-Elect. Your humble Diogenes 🙂

    1. Again, it’s foolish to assume Biden has any agency. Maybe in ordering his lunch. And it’s a reasonable wager that the 25th Amendment will be used against him, depending on which shadowy cabal gains the upper hand. He might just break his hyoid bone while lifting weights.

      1. I’m hoping his east-coast advisors don’t want to be replaced by Kamala’s tech Maoists.

      2. They have to go through “call me Docta” Jill. She is the gatekeeper. Do not underestimate her own lust for holding onto power.

      3. Wait, you mean the guy who was considered by most watchers as the winner of his 2 debates with Trump this fall? That guy has “no agency”?

        1. Biden actually did far better than expected in one of the debates – though he lied from start to finish – still he came accross as a competent liar. Of course he needed the protesction of the press to do so.

          In the other debates – he did better than ridiculously low expectations. That is not a compliment.

          Trump also did universally worse than expected. Not actually bad, just worse than expected.

          Biden did not win any debates. But he did not need to win them. He just needed to not get mopped all over the floor.

          With the help of the press he managed that.

    2. Lots of politicians and captains of industry think they can tame the leviathan that is the popular will. It never works for long:

      “The opinion that any Monarch receiveth his Power by Covenant, that is to say on Condition, proceedeth from want of understanding this easie truth, that Covenants being but words, and breath, have no force to oblige, contain, constrain, or protect any man, but what it has from the publique Sword; that is, from the untyed hands of that Man, or Assembly of men that hath the Soveraignty, and whose actions are avouched by them all, and performed by the strength of them all, in him united. But when an Assembly of men is made Soveraigne; then no man imagineth any such Covenant to have past in the Institution; for no man is so dull as to say, for example, the People of Rome, made a Covenant with the Romans, to hold the Soveraignty on such or such conditions; which not performed, the Romans might lawfully depose the Roman People.”
      ~Sir Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

      1. The “popular will” Mespo celebrates voted against Trump again. That’s 2 out of 2.

    3. I do not envy Biden he has engineered himself to power – owing competing groups that he can not possibly please and there is already serious friction between those.
      Nor can he pay off any of those interest groups and not tank an already weak economy.

      He takes office in the midst of a pandemic. He has the advantage of several vaccines provided by his predecessor – but 50% of healthcare workers appear to be refusing the vaccine – and we have an odd coalition of anti-vaxers both right and left.
      Without rapid widespread vaccinations this will be drawn out.
      His tool of choice is lockdowns and masks – which either do not work at all or work so poorly as to be near useless.

      The second wave of lockdowns has delivered a death blow to myriads of small business (and many larger ones) that were hanging on by their teeth.

      So he is going to have an economy that is starting to return into recession and a pandemic at the same time and no effective policies.

      We already spent all the money that could be spent to deal with this. The Fed has been neutered. We are very near proving that MMT does not work. If interest rates rise so will inflation and so will government interest payments. Starving any hope of paying for anything he wants to do – there really is none anyway.

      If Democrats raise taxes – they will lose elections for a decade. And they will not get the money they need anyway.

      I can go on and on. Trump himself would have serious problems as president in 2021. But he would have one advantage – he owes no one anything. He would be free to do what would work, not what would be politically palitable.

      Further Biden brings with him into office myriads of Obama retreads – and we all know how badly they handled the economy.

      The gods like to punish people by giving them what they wish.

    4. Biden can not work with republicans – without a revolt from his base.

      Do you think Biden can govern if we see more riots from the left in 2021 ? Do you fail to grasp how big a threat that is ?
      Do you wonder what has kept the courts in line ? The far left has Biden over a barrel.
      They beleive rightly they elected him. They also beleive rightly they can destroy him.

      Censorship is a huge issue for the left – they beleive it is a effective means to reshape the world.
      They are both wrong and stupidly so. Regardless, there is no chance of Biden doing anything good with free speech.

      If free speech is important to you today – like it or not you have only one viable hope – republicans.

      I am libertarain. i voted libertarain in 2016 and 2020. Any libertarian president would be great on free speech.
      It is probably 50 years before a libertarain can win a presidential election

      1. I’m not as pessimistic, but you could be right. I’m just trying to avoid the unthinkable before 2022.

        1. I am not pessimistic per say.

          I just choose not to beleive in unicorns.

          I am making predictions based on my own observations and judgement,

          I could be wrong – but I do not see how.

          One of the huge problems the left fails to grasp is that if you have the support of 90% of people on 10 different issues, but on each issue you are vigorously opposed by 10%, and that 10% is not the same people for each issue, at the end you find that 100% of people are opposed to you.

          This is a major part of the reason that majoritarian government does not work. Because we are not monolithic.
          It is also whith growing government inherently fails. No matter how popular each measure is – with each measure, with each new law the government creates more opposition.

          Anyway Biden is in an unenviable position. I think he is far more handcuffed than Obama was in 2008.
          There is almost nothing that Biden/democrats can do that will not create more enemies and opposition.

          The recent mass censorship done by Big Tech creates a very temporary advantage in effectivly muting further oppositojn – for a short time. But it also scares the crap out of people who would otherwise support those on the left.
          It is an incredibly authoritarian move when the left has been selling us the claim that republicans are the authoritarians.

          1. Anyway Biden is in an unenviable position

            I think you mean whoever is putting paper in front of him and loading the TelePrompTer. Aside from the usual problems at the apex of the executive, you have the notional executive sundowning.

      2. John say, your concerns are quite overblown. Almost panic like.

        What you’re saying about Biden is so off base.

        The freedom of speech arguments here are nothing more than a distraction from what happened on Wednesday.

        No judge who adheres to the originalist philosophy will ever rule that Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Amazon has violated anyone’s free speech rights.

        Private entities are perfectly able to regulate speech as they see fit on their platforms. This is the fundamental disconnect that many republicans have in regards to free speech. Turley believes first amendment protections extend to private companies like Twitter and Facebook. But that would require proving in court that they are violating a prohibited on infringement that clearly applies to government.

        1. PBS principal counsel Michael Beller, called Americans “dumb” and floated “re-education camps” with PBS available for Trump supporters’ children while unknowingly being recorded by a Project Veritas journalist before the 2020 presidential election.

          “Kids who are growing up know nothing but Trump, for four years. You’ve got to wonder what they’re going to be like,” said Beller. “They’ll be raising a generation of intolerant, horrible people – horrible kids.”

          “Even if Biden wins, we go for all the Republican voters, and Homeland Security will take their children away,” he asserted, adding, “And we’ll put them into re-education camps.”

          Later in the video, he noted, “The re-education camps — they’re nice, they have Sesame Street in the classrooms, and they watch PBS all day.”

          Beller claimed that we live in “unique” times. “I mean, Trump is close to Hitler,” he said.

          Asked what Democrats should do if Trump were to win the presidential election, Beller responded, “Go to the White House and throw Molotov cocktails …”

          Project Veritas

        2. Scale matters Svelaz

          I can kick somebody out of my house who disagrees with me. That is private property rights but they are not an apt analogy

          Google FB amazon Twttr are massively more large “private property” conglomerates than piddly little you and me. There is really NO analogy, just a legalistic one

          Moreover these conglomerates are using PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE. The internet was literally built by the United States. They are using it. They have certain legal subsidies like Sec 230 and they have certain tax advantages. I wont get into that but it’s real. They are not properly or fairly taxed, in a nutshell, compared to much of their communications competition.

          Finally, they have been seeded with government capital. Inqtel.Darpa. Look it up.

          They are quasi-public in the same way that utilities are and must be regulated.

          Sal Sar

          1. So then Jurtz, we are all using the internet, which means our homes may be regulated. Is that what you are saying?

            And while at it, can we take this to mean you favor reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine for our limited and regulated public airwaves?

        3. It is hard to address your post, you make claims but not only do not support them – you do not make them clearly.
          For the most part I do not know what you are talking about.

          The evidence regarding the Biden family corruption – which if thoroughly explored will run through washington into prominent political families left and right, is firmly established.
          Subject Hunter to the same standard as Manafort – and Hunter is in jail for a long time.
          I do not actually support that. Hunter and Manafort are politically corrupt. But most of that is not criminal.

          The big questions are not about Hunter. They are about Joe – what did he know, and when did he know it.
          And most of that has been answered damningly.

          Regardless, I am not panicked. Libertarians do not win elections. I am not getting the president or senators, or representatives or dog catchers of my preference no matter what.

          “The freedom of speech arguments here are nothing more than a distraction from what happened on Wednesday.”

        4. I am going to flip the argument on you with respect to the capital protests.

          What are YOUR standards for: Free Speech – particularly political speech, Assembly, and petitioning government ?

          Whatever those standards are – they must be the same – left or right.

          If Congress can lockdown the capital – it can do so for Kavanaugh and Trump protestors alike.

          If Congress can silence those challenging what it is up to on the right – it can do so on the left.

          Give us standards that apply to both sides.

          “Please, show me where it says that protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful,” he said. “Because I can show you that outraged citizens are what made the country what she is and led to any major milestone. To be honest, this is not a tranquil time.”

          “Too many see the protests as the problem,” he said. “No, the problem is what forced your fellow citizens to take the streets. Persistent and poisonous inequities and injustice.”

          This is Chris Cuomo’s remarks. And he is correct. Where he is wrong is that protests may not involve destruction of private private property or violence to to private individuals.

          Regardless – you tell me – how do we manage protests against government at the capital (or anywhere).

          When can government override the rights of citizens ?

          One set of rules – that work that apply to left and right.

          Balls in your court.

          And please no nonsense like “violence is never acceptable” – Chris Cuomo got that right. Though he was wrong about where that violence could legitimately be directed.

        5. You know very little about originalists.

          I would suggest paying attention to the contracts clause – I know that we have ignored it since the 30’s. But it is still there.

          I have no legal objection to private censorship – so long as businesses live up to their comittments.
          If you promised free speech to get customers – you are stuck with that.

          I expect Amazon to honor its contract with Parler – or be subject to damages.

          But I am not all that fixated on the legal issues – though you are wrong there.

          Bad conduct by bussiness is easily punishable by their customers.

          Big Tech has just sewn the seeds of its own destruction. While that will not occur tomorow. They have broken trust. Businesses do not easily get trust back.

          Regardless, the Parler debacle will drive people to Gab. Gab’s vulnerability will drive the development of P2P social media – youtub competitiors already exist.

          I am not panicked – I am almost gleeful.

          The more the left shows who they are the more repugnant they look.

  9. Does Pelosi even understand the 25th Amendment? I doubt it, but as her logic goes let’s use it to see what’s in it.

    1. No she does not or yes and she is not concerned with it as in her Democracy which does not exist in Our Constiutional Republic she has already done away with it and moved to a socialist autocracy. She dreams of being an automatic vice president. I still say OUR President Trump in his last week should resign take a pardon from President Pence and block Pelosi forever.

      So far the left wing has taken over so to many of us who took an oath to The Constitution and our Constitutional Republic we have no loyalty at all t the commissars.

      The shame lies also with todays military who en masse have become puppets of the left having failed to uphold their Oath of Office unless htey have a January surprise ins tore for inauguration day…. Which is what they should be doing. One thing is they don’t have to go to foreign wars anymore either they are all political as was this take over.

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