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President and the Executive Branch

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1 President and the Executive Branch
Imperial threat or imperiled public servant This presentation is the property of Dr. Kevin Parsneau for use by him and his current students. No other person may use or reprint without his permission.

2 Introduction to the Presidency
Presidents are frequently called “the most powerful man in the world.” What do we expect of presidents? What are the President’s powers and can presidents live up to our expectations? Why are some presidents more powerful than others? Some of the framers of the Constitution were concerned that presidents would be too powerful, while others were concerned that presidents would not have enough power. Are modern presidents too powerful or not powerful enough?

3 Presidential Power What do we expect presidents to do?
What’s in the Constitution to get the job done?

4 Presidential Power The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. (Article II Section 2 Clause 1)

5 Presidential Power Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it (Article I Section 7 Clause 2)

6 Presidential Power He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient… (Article II Section 2 Clause 3)

7 Stewardship Theory of the President: President as a "steward of the people" should take whatever action necessary for the public good unless expressly forbidden by law or the Constitution.

8 Categories of Presidential Power
Expressed powers—powers specifically given in the Constitution Delegated powers—constitutional powers that one branch of government has but it is exercised by another branch Inherent Powers—powers that can be inferred from the Constitution but not expressly in it

9 Constitutional Powers of the President
Veto (legislative power) Commander in Chief of the Military Chief Executive Reprieves and pardons Treaties Appoint Federal Judges State of the Union Address

10 The Framer’s Intent “The President is also to be authorized to receive ambassadors and other public ministers. This, though it has been a rich theme of declamation, is more a matter of dignity than of authority. It is a circumstance which will be without consequence in the administration of the government…. There is no comparison between the intended power of the President and the actual power of the British sovereign. The one can perform alone what the other can only do with the concurrence of the legislative branch.” –Alexander Hamilton Federalist #69

11 The Framer’s Intent “The inquiry then is--what department of the Government of the U(nited) States is the proper one to make a declaration of Neutrality in the cases in which the engagements of the Nation permit and its interests require such a declaration… It must then of necessity belong to the Executive Department to exercise the function in Question--when a proper case for the exercise of it occurs. It appears to be connected with that department in various capacities, as the organ of intercourse between the Nation and foreign Nations” --Alexander Hamilton, Pacificus, no. 1, 29 June 1793

12 The Framer’s Intent “The natural province of the executive magistrate is to execute the law, as that of the legislature is to make laws. All his acts therefore must presuppose the existence of laws to be executed…. To say then that the power to make treaties, which are confessedly laws, belong naturally to the department which executes the laws, is to say, that the executive department naturally includes legislative power. In theory this is an absurdity– in practice a tyranny.” --James Madison, Helvidus, no. 1, August 1793

13 Can “intent” to tell us presidential powers?
There was disagreement among the framers of the Constitution. Madison and Jefferson disagreed with Hamilton and Washington Hamilton disagreed with himself at different times There may be no universal, best interpretation. Presidential powers will be political defined by presidents in conflict with others.

14 Roles of the President Head of State Head of Government Head of Party
Chief Diplomat

15 Other sources of presidential power
Persuasion and Bargaining Public Presidency Unitary Actor Administrative Presidency Congressional Support Foreign Policy War Powers

16 Richard Neustadt (1960) Wield power through:

17 Public Presidency “Bully Pulpit” Set the Public Agenda Mandate
Honeymoon Presidential Approval Rally “Around the Flag” Effect

18 President and Congress
Unified Government Divided Government Presidential Coattails

19 War Powers Act (1973) President may commit armed forces
Declaration of war Specific statutory authorization National emergency (attack on the U.S. , its territories, possessions or armed forces) Must consult with Congress “at every possible instance” 60-Day Clock for Reauthorization

20 Does the President have too much power?
Have we moved away from “checks and balances”? Is it good that the President is the center of attention and action? Would it be better for it to be otherwise? What is the alternative in the modern political environment?

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