“Open Letter From Political Scientists” and what it means


Fernanda Camacho Hauser, Correspondent

In the wake of Wednesday’s Capitol Hill siege, the public and authorities have been left in shock as we all process and react to the photographs and information that have been slowly emerging.

One of the reactions to note has been the “Open Letter From Political Scientists,” started by Brendan Nyhan, a professor of government at Dartmouth.

The letter, signed by hundreds (including dozens of University System of Georgia faculty members), calls for the Vice President and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment relieving President Donald Trump of his duties effective immediately.

None of the faculty members who signed were from Georgia Southern but The George-Anne reached out to our political science faculty members to ask them about the letter, if they’d sign it or why they haven’t.

None of the faculty we spoke to were familiar with the letter or its content beyond what we had told them. 

Dr. Christopher Brown, assistant professor from the department of political science and international studies, told us he’ll keep his ear to the ground as events continue to unfold.

A similar letter inspired by Nyhan’s titled “Open Letter From Political Science Students,” is also circulating but, at last check, no one claiming to be from Georgia Southern has signed that letter.

In regards to the possibility of an impeachment being seen through or the invocation of the 25th Amendment, “I imagine [they are] low. The President would contest it, it would wind up in Congress, and it might make a political martyr of Trump with very little time left in his administration. Nevertheless, it may be pursued regardless if he begins making illegal orders, or orders that are likely to cause significant political destabilization even if they are technically legal.” wrote Dr. Joshua Kennedy.

There were those outside of the Political Science realm who gave their input in the 25th Amendment in through the google form sent out from The George-Anne with many voicing concerns about the timing, the support it would need, as well as the phrasing and intent of the 25th Amendment. 

Such as Jamison Leahy, student, who wrote:

I’m not entirely sure the 25th amendment would apply here. I’ve read its fourth article and it refers to an inability to lead which I don’t think applies here. The intent seemed to be more about illness or injury. […] They may be able to get around this though, but Vice President Pence needs to be a key supporter of this and I’m not sure he would. If they are able to invoke the 25th amendment and Mike Pence does become the 46th president, he will surpass William Henry Harrison’s 180 year record of shortest presidential term would finally be surpassed.”

“I would agree that the 25th amendment should be invoked if there was more time left of this presidency. The thing is, by the time that congress passed the amendment into action, Inauguration Day will already be here.” wrote Andrew Manning, also a student.