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Senator Birch Bayh speaking at a meeting of the American Bar Association’s Special Conference on Presidential Inability in 1964.  The author is seated to the right of Bayh. (Birch Bayh Senatorial Papers, Modern Political Papers, Indiana University-Bloomington)

When Senator Birch Bayh passed away in March, my memories brought me back to Washington, D.C., on a Wednesday morning in January 1964.  President Kennedy’s assassination two months earlier had injected a new uncertainty into the national psyche.  One of the responses was to explore clarifying the presidential succession laws—the subject of an article of mine that the Fordham Law Review had happened to publish a month before the assassination.

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