On the President As a Zombie

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 29, 2011

This analysis of the procedural difficulties that might confront the United States government in the event that the President of the United States becomes a zombie is interesting. But there is a relatively simple solution to the problem of what the government might do if the President becomes a zombie, one that is neither covered by Professor Drezner’s discussion, nor mentioned in comments. The Cabinet can simply invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which says, in pertinent part:

4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

I submit that if the President becomes a zombie incapable of higher thought, it is a relatively simple and straightforward matter to declare that “the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” In the event that a zombie vaccine or cure is discovered, and said cure is successfully administered to the President, then of course, the President may resume his/her duties. Until then, this is as obvious a case of incapacitation as any imaginable, and I suspect that a determination on the part of relevant personnel declaring the zombie President to have been incapacitated would be unanimous (assuming, of course, that relevant personnel are not themselves zombies). Invoking the 25th Amendment would prevent the government from falling apart, while at the same time leaving open the option of the President resuming his/her duties in the event that a cure is successfully administered to the President.

I thank readers for indulging me in a discussion of this tremendously important issue.

  • sford528

    Wat, do you mean to say that he’s NOT?

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