Captain Queeg and the 25th Amendment

The Washington Post ran a fascinating article today explaining that some of the drafters of the 25th Amendment looked to The Caine Mutiny and Captain Queeg as examples of what Section Four of the amendment should not permit. There is, of course, nothing shocking about the idea that the original public meaning of a constitutional provision could be shaped by a movie or a novel. But I did not see this particular angle before. (The law and literature article about Captain Queeg and presidential disability practically writes itself.) The beauty of the example is that Captain Queeg presents a difficult case for mutiny or removal. He was an experienced seamen who did some things well as captain, but also made some poor decisions. His behavior was odd and sometimes paranoid, but then again his officers were not terribly loyal or effective themselves. The court-martial of the second-in-command results in an acquittal, but in ambiguous circumstances (one of the witnesses lies under…

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