Presidential Succession and Delegation in Case of Disability

Headnotes: 

The following memorandum discusses issues relating to presidential succession and delegation of presidential power in the event of a temporary disability of the President. It examines the mechanism established by the Twenty-Fifth Amendment by which the Vice President assumes the powers and duties of the Office of the President, and the conditions under which the President resumes his Office after his disability is ended. It also examines the circumstances in which the President may delegate his powers to other officials, including the Vice President, when it is not considered necessary or appropriate to invoke the provisions of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. It concludes that functions vested in the President by the Constitution are generally not delegable and must be performed by him; however, any power vested in the President by statute may be delegated to subordinate officers, unless the statute affirmatively prohibits such delegation. Finally, the memorandum briefly reviews the form and method of delegation. An appendix contains a historical summary of prior presidential disabilities and the resulting effect on presidential authority.

Updated July 9, 2014