How ‘The Caine Mutiny’ and the Paranoid Capt. Queeg Influenced the 25th Amendment’s Drafters, Making It Harder to Sideline a President


John D. Feerick ’61, current professor, former dean of Fordham Law School, and Feerick Center founder, was quoted in a Washington Post article about the impact that ‘The Caine Mutiny’ had on the creation of the 25th Amendment.

[F]or a certain group of lawyers and lawmakers in the 1950s and ’60s it was an unforgettable lesson as they sat down to draft the 25th Amendment, which provided an alternative to impeachment for removing an incapacitated president. They didn’t want a similar situation — an “Article 184″ in the amendment — where a vice president or others could simply usurp the commander-in-chief’s power at the mere utterance of the word “disabled,” explained John D. Feerick, professor and former dean of Fordham School of Law, who assisted in drafting the amendment in the 1960s.

The film was a “live depiction,” Feerick told The Washington Post, of the type of crisis that could arise if a president ever faced questions about physical or mental inabilities but disagreed completely with the judgment — a scenario unaccounted for in the Constitution’s impeachment clause, which allows removal of the president only after conviction by the Senate for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

“There’s never been as much discussion about the amendment in the disability context than in the last two years,” Feerick said. “The one thing that I see in that is that this important part of the Constitution” has received more attention. “It’s a serious part of the Constitution. It protects the office of the president, and it makes it very difficult to remove a president.”

Read the full article.


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