24 and 25

24 AND 25….As long as we’re on the subject of movies and TV, Jeff Cooper wants everyone to know that 24’s treatment of the 25th Amendment ? an excellent contender for most obscure constitutional amendment ever ? was not especially accurate from a purely legal point of view.

Well, yeah, and as Jeff himself notes, it’s sort of the least of our worries when it comes to plausibility in the 24 world. However, in the writers’ defense, I would like to point out that David Palmer made the same complaint in the show, and the VP was careful to respond by saying that Palmer’s problem was erratic behavior, implying a sort of nervous breakdown rather than a simple policy difference. Thus, they sorta kinda meet the intent of the 25th Amendment, which was to have an orderly transition of power in case the president was disabled for medical reasons. Besides, they had to pick something that allows the president to regain power within the next, um, 70 or 80 minutes, right?

On other 24-related matters, unlike Jeff, I’m willing to buy into the fact that Jack recovered from a brutal, near-death torture session in about, oh, 30 seconds, but I am having trouble with the whole bomber scenario. I mean, they keep talking about how critical it is to surprise our enemies with these bombers, yada yada, but what the hell are they going to do when they get to their targets? I assume they aren’t carrying nukes ? ICBMs would be the preferred delivery system in that case ? so all we have are a few bombers with a few payloads of ordinary bombs. So what? They’re going to bomb a few miscellaneous buildings and turn around. What’s that supposed to accomplish?

As Jeff notes, many of these problems arise from the conceit of the show, namely that it’s happening in real time, and that’s the part that really gets me. I guess it’s a good gimmick, but in fact the story could be told almost identically if it took place over three weeks instead of 24 hours. It’s not clear at all that the 24-hour straitjacket actually does any good.

And next season? Jack Bauer, who is actually Catholic, has been elected Pope by acclamation and springs into action when a rogue Opus Dei splinter group takes Kim captive and refuses to release her until Jack agrees to deed the Vatican over to them ? a move that will destabilize the Italian banking system and lead to worldwide chaos. Unfortunately, they haven’t counted on the power of Jack’s cell phone….

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