KILMEADE: Steve, remember we were down this road before? If something happens that Johnson can’t continue, 50-50 with Dick Cheney breaking the tie.
DOOCY: That’s right, and you know, in the state of South Dakota, I understand there is the issue of incapacitation. It’s not spelled out in the state law, at the state level. However, the secretary of state of South Dakota says there would be a precedent at the federal level. Is that how you understand it as well Megan?
FOX ANCHOR: Yeah, indeed, there’s a big laundry list that they would have to go through in order to determine that he is incapacitated. It’s something that, ironically enough, might be weighed in on by his advisers. In other words, Sen. Harry Reid, the incoming majority leader, and Chuck Schumer, may advise him on whether he should declare his incapacity, if in fact he’s in a position where he can declare it or not. And so, we’ll have to see what happens in terms of, you know, what exactly his condition is and who’s going to weigh in on whether it should be declared an incapacitation or whether that’s just clear from the facts.
Okay, first of all, Strom Thurmond was incapacitated the last ten years of his career in the Senate. But more importantly, if we are going to talk about precedent let's look at the most relevant case. From ABC News:
In 1969, another South Dakota senator, Karl Mundt, a Republican, suffered a stroke while in office. Mundt continued to serve until the end of his term in January 1973, although he was unable to attend Senate sessions and was stripped of his committee assignments by the Senate Republican Conference in 1972.
Johnson holds the same seat that Mundt did and by all available evidence, was clearly incapacitated and finished his term. It is entirely too early to tell if Johnson will return to the Senate, and for that matter if he even wants to. These kind of events are obviously life changing.
But as far as having him declared incapacitated by anyone outside of the state of South Dakota, forget about it. And lets face it, even if he is a vegetable, he'd still be a smarter Senator than James Inhofe.