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March 22, 1995

New Multidisciplinary Working Group Focuses on Presidential Disability

Author Affiliations

JAMA Senior Editor

JAMA. 1995;273(12):905-906. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520360017005

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THE UNSETTLING reality of the vulnerability and potential impairment of perhaps the most powerful person in the world, the president of the United States, coupled with concerns about the effectiveness of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution for determining presidential disability, creates difficulties in resolving the issue of transfer of executive power in the event that the president cannot exercise it.

A newly formed Working Group on Disability in US Presidents, composed of scholars and national leaders in medicine, history, political science, law, and journalism, is evaluating the strengths and shortcomings of the Twenty-fifth Amendment (which delineates nonelective succession to the presidency and vice presidency) and hopes to come up with some answers to a matter that could be of vital public importance.

During a 3-day closed meeting held in January at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Ga, the multidisciplinary working group, supported by the Charles A. Dana Foundation and

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