The Bipartisan Bayh Amendment: Republican Contributions to the Twenty-Fifth Amendment
By Joel K. Goldstein
It is appropriate that Senator Birch Bayh has been widely recognized as the author and person most responsible for the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. His work was indispensable, and he was helped by other Democrats and nonpartisan actors including the American Bar Association and John D. Feerick, among others. Yet the Amendment was also the product of bipartisan cooperation. Important provisions were based on work done during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Eisenhower and his Attorney General, Herbert Brownell, played important roles in supporting Bayh’s proposal as did other Republicans in and out of Congress. Republicans like Representative Richard Poff pushed ideas and provisions that found their way into the Amendment, helped create important legislative history, and contributed in the legislative process. Bayh’s legislative contribution included the inclusive manner in which he operated, and many Republicans deserve credit for participating constructively in a process they could not direct.
In describing the bipartisan character of the Bayh Amendment, this Article seeks to fill a void in scholarly writing since no prior work has this focus. It also uses the Twenty-Fifth Amendment as a case study of the sort of bipartisan effort on which any constitutional amendment depends. And it suggests that the dispositions that produced the Twenty-Fifth Amendment— in particular, communal problem solving based on a recognition of the need for interested parties to build from areas of agreement—would contribute to addressing other social problems.