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Date : October 4, 2012 Topic : The Informal Powers of the President. Aim : How does the President exercise informal powers? Do Now : What does it mean to balance the ticket?. Informal Powers. Those powers not explicitly written in the Constitution

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Informal powers

Date: October 4, 2012Topic: The Informal Powers of the President.Aim: How does the President exercise informal powers?Do Now: What does it mean to balance the ticket?


Informal powers
Informal Powers

  • Those powers not explicitly written in the 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


Executive orders
Executive Orders

  • Orders issued by the President that carry the force of law

  • Clinton’s “Don’t ask don’t tell” gays in the military policy

  • FDR’s internment of Japanese Americans

  • GWB trying suspected terrorists in military tribunals

Notice for Japanese “relocation,” 1942


Executive agreements
Executive Agreements

  • International agreements, usually related to trade, made by a president that has the force of a treaty; does NOT need Senate approval

  • Jefferson’s purchase of Louisiana in 1803

  • GWB announced cuts in the nuclear arsenal, but not in a treaty; usually trade agreements between

  • US and other nations


Executive privilege
Executive Privilege

  • Claim by a president that he has the right to decide that the national interest will be better served if certain information is withheld from the public, including the Courts and Congress

  • United States v. Nixon (1973) – presidents do NOT have unqualified executive privilege (Nixon Watergate tapes)


Questions for discussion
Questions for Discussion

  • 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.