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Presidential Powers . What can He/She Do?. General Job Description. President exists so that: “…laws be faithfully executed.” Presidents, lawmakers, and the public has struggled with the idea of “executive power” What exactly can the POTUS do? Power of presidency has grown since 1789

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presidential powers

Presidential Powers

What can He/She Do?

general job description
General Job Description
  • President exists so that:
    • “…laws be faithfully executed.”
  • Presidents, lawmakers, and the public has struggled with the idea of “executive power”
    • What exactly can the POTUS do?
  • Power of presidency has grown since 1789
    • Size of government has grown (chief exec/admin)
    • POTUS has grabbed powers in times of war and crisis
    • Also used the media to garner public opinion and support
executive powers
Executive Powers
  • Can be summed up in parts of the oath of office:
    • “…that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United states and to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States.”
  • Basically, he executes/enforces ALL federal laws
    • Even ones he may not agree with
    • He can decide how vigorously to enforce said laws
  • The power to give executive orders comes from the ordinance power
    • Executive order: directive, rule, or regulation that has the effect of law
appointment power
Appointment Power
  • President gets to pick (with Senate confirmation):
    • Ambassadors/diplomats
    • Cabinet members/aids
    • Heads of independent agencies (CIA, FBI, NASA, EPA)
    • Federal judges/federal marshals/attorneys
    • Officers in the armed forces
  • President can make an appointment when congress is in recess
    • Expires at the end of the congressional term
  • Also given the removal power
    • Can fire pretty much anyone he appoints
diplomatic powers
Diplomatic Powers
  • President usually plays a major role in negotiating treaties
    • Assisted by secretary of state
    • Senate must approve
  • Executive agreement:
    • Pact between POTUS and another head of state
    • Senate approval is not required
  • POTUS has power to recognize or not recognize nations
  • Also has power to recall diplomats or other officials
war powers
War Powers
  • POTUS is commander in chief of the military
    • Few limits on what he can do in that role
  • Often fight conflicts without a declaration of war
    • Congress has not declared war since WWII
    • Vietnam and Korea were undeclared
  • Have been eight joint resolutions to aid in a crisis
    • Iraq 1, Iraq 2, Afghanistan, Vietnam
  • War Powers Resolution of 1973:
    • POTUS must notify Congress within 48 hours saying what he is doing
    • Has 60 days (plus 30 more) to end action unless congress extends
    • Congress may end combat at any time
legislative powers
Legislative Powers
  • POTUS may suggest legislation
  • State of the Union Address
  • Calls for laws and actions he feels needed
  • Has the power to veto bills
  • Four options when faced with a bill:
    • Sign it
    • Veto it
    • Not act and it becomes law in 10 days
    • Not act and Congress adjourns in less than ten days (pocket veto)
  • Veto may be overridden by a 2/3 majority
judicial powers
Judicial Powers
  • Power of reprieve:
    • Postponement of a sentence
  • Power of pardon:
    • Legal forgiveness of a crime
    • Both may only be used in federal cases
    • Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon
  • Power of commutation:
    • Power to reduce a sentence or fine
  • Power of amnesty
    • Blanket pardon to a group of people