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Informal powers of the president

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1 Informal powers of the president
Spring 2015

2 Informal powers Those powers not explicitly written in the Constitution . It is also called inherent powers Based on the “faithfully execute” clause in the presidential oath which is in the US Constitution similar to “necessary and proper” powers of Congress In the modern era (since 1933), the President’s informal powers may be significantly more powerful than his formal powers.

3 4 Major Informal Powers Persuasion Executive orders
Executive agreements Executive privilege

4 Persuasion Given more media coverage than other government officials so he/she can persuade the public more easily. (Heavily influence by public opinion polls though) White House Press Corps follows him every where

5 Persuasion Formal powers of veto, recommending measures to Congress, and calling a special joint session of Congress allow for persuasion of legislative branch Foreign policy powers of appointing ambassadors, creating treaties/exec agreements, influence foreign leaders and organizations (UN)

6 Executive orders Orders issued by the President that carry the force of law that do not need Congressional approval - part of “faithfully execute” clause in presidential oath in the US Constitution Must be tied to an expressed power of president or law passed by Congress. US Supreme Court can overrule these orders if the Court rules it violates the US Constitution.

7 Executive orders Why are they done? Congressional inaction
Immediate attention is needed to an important/emergency situation. Clarification/updating of an already existing law or policy passed by Congress or executive agency. Something the President wants done

8 Recent executive orders
Obama’s order to revise immigration procedure. (2015) Obama’s order to increase minimum wage for federal workers/contractors.(Feb 2014) riefing-room/presidential- actions/executive-orders

9 Controversial executive orders
FDR’s internment of Japanese Americans. This order was reviewed in the case Korematsu vs. US and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the detentions due to the fact the Congress approved it and it was wartime. Clinton’s directive to initiate the military policy Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell for gay soldiers. This Policy has since been changed via a law passed 2010.

10 Executive agreements International agreements, usually related to trade, made by a president that has the force of a treaty; does NOT need Senate approval Often organized by State Department or Trade Agencies Examples Jefferson’s purchase of Louisiana in 1803

11 Executive agreements Sometimes seen as unconstitutional because Senate does not have to approve. Huge increase in this over actual treaties approved by Senate during the 20th century Example - Arms Control Acts made by numerous presidents

12 Executive privilege Claim by a president that he/she has the right to decide that the national interest will be better served if certain information (such as private correspondence with aids and department secretaries) should be withheld from the public, the federal Courts, and Congress. This makes it more difficult to investigate a president. United States v. Nixon (1973) – presidents do NOT have unqualified executive privilege (Nixon Watergate tapes)

13 Questions to consider Why are informal powers more important than formal powers, particularly to modern presidents? Identify several advantages and disadvantages of the use of the president’s informal powers. Has the use and perhaps abuse of the informal powers created an “Imperial Presidency?” Defend your answer.

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