Powers of the president of the United States

Last updated

The powers of the president of the United States include those powers explicitly granted by Article II of the United States Constitution to the president of the United States, powers granted by Acts of Congress, implied powers, and also a great deal of soft power that is attached to the presidency.

Power (social and political) ability to influence the behavior of people with or without resistance

In social science and politics, power is the capacity of an individual to influence the conduct (behaviour) of others. The term "authority" is often used for power that is perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust. This sort of primitive exercise of power is historically endemic to humans; however, as social beings, the same concept is seen as good and as something inherited or given for exercising humanistic objectives that will help, move, and empower others as well. In general, it is derived by the factors of interdependence between two entities and the environment. In business, the ethical instrumentality of power is achievement, and as such it is a zero-sum game. In simple terms it can be expressed as being "upward" or "downward". With downward power, a company's superior influences subordinates for attaining organizational goals. When a company exerts upward power, it is the subordinates who influence the decisions of their leader or leaders.

Article Two of the United States Constitution portion of the US Constitution regarding the executive branch

Article Two of the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, which carries out and enforces federal laws. Article Two vests the power of the executive branch in the office of the president of the United States, lays out the procedures for electing and removing the president, and establishes the president's powers and responsibilities.

President of the United States Head of state and of government of the United States

The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.


The Constitution explicitly assigns the president the power to sign or veto legislation, command the armed forces, ask for the written opinion of their Cabinet, convene or adjourn Congress, grant reprieves and pardons, and receive ambassadors. The president shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed and the president has the power to appoint and remove executive officers. The president may make treaties, which need to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate, and is accorded those foreign-affairs functions not otherwise granted to Congress or shared with the Senate. Thus, the president can control the formation and communication of foreign policy and can direct the nation's diplomatic corps. The president may also appoint Article III judges and some officers with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. In the condition of a Senate recess, the president may make a temporary appointment.

The legislative veto was a feature of dozens of statutes enacted by the United States federal government between approximately 1930 and 1980, until held unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1983. It is a provision whereby Congress passes a statute granting authority to the President and reserving for itself the ability to override, through simple majority vote, individual actions taken by the President pursuant to that authority.

The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The president of the United States is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and forms military policy with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All five armed services are among the seven uniformed services of the United States.

Cabinet of the United States Advisory body to the president of the United States

The Cabinet of the United States is part of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States. The members of the Cabinet are the vice president and the secretary of state and other heads of the federal executive departments, all of whom — if eligible — are in the presidential line of succession.


Article II of the Constitution expressly designates the president as "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" [1] – since 1947, this has been understood to mean all U.S. Armed Forces. As commander-in-chief, the president exercises supreme operational command over the military; which includes the power to launch, direct and supervise military operations, order or authorize the deployment of troops (in foreign countries), and form military policy with the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. However, the constitutional ability to declare war is vested only in Congress. [2]

Militia (United States) National military force of citizens used in emergencies

The militia of the United States, as defined by the U.S. Congress, has changed over time.

A military operation is the coordinated military actions of a state, or a non-state actor, in response to a developing situation. These actions are designed as a military plan to resolve the situation in the state or actor's favor. Operations may be of a combat or non-combat nature and may be referred to by a code name for the purpose of national security. Military operations are often known for their more generally accepted common usage names than their actual operational objectives.

United States Department of Defense United States federal executive department

The United States Department of Defense is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government directly related to national security and the United States Armed Forces. The DoD is the largest employer in the world, with nearly 1.3 million active-duty service members as of 2016. More employees include over 826,000 National Guard and Reservists from the armed forces, and over 732,000 civilians bringing the total to over 2.8 million employees. Headquartered at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., the DoD's stated mission is to provide "the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation's security".

U.S. ranks have their roots in British military traditions, with the president possessing ultimate authority, but no rank, maintaining a civilian status. [3] Before 1947, the president was the only common superior of the Army (under the secretary of war) and the Navy and Marine Corps (under the secretary of the navy). [4] The National Security Act of 1947, and the 1949 amendments to the same act, created the Department of Defense and the services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force) became subject to the "authority, direction and control" of the secretary of defense. [5] [6] The present-day operational command of the Armed Forces is delegated to the Department of Defense and is normally exercised through its Secretary. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the combatant commands assist with the operation as outlined in the presidentially approved Unified Command Plan (UCP). [7] [8] [9]

United States Secretary of War minister in the USA

The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War", had been appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation between 1781 and 1789. Benjamin Lincoln and later Henry Knox held the position. When Washington was inaugurated as the first president under the Constitution, he appointed Knox to continue serving as Secretary of War.

United States Department of the Navy

The United States Department of the Navy was established by an Act of Congress on 30 April 1798, to provide a government organizational structure to the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps and, when directed by the President, the United States Coast Guard, as a service within the Department of the Navy, though each remain independent service branches. The Department of the Navy was an Executive Department and the Secretary of the Navy was a member of the President's cabinet until 1949, when amendments to the National Security Act of 1947 changed the name of the National Military Establishment to the Department of Defense and made it an Executive Department. The Department of the Navy then became, along with the Department of the Army and Department of the Air Force, a Military Department within the Department of Defense: subject to the authority, direction and control of the Secretary of Defense.

United States Secretary of the Navy statutory office and the head of the U.S. Department of the Navy

The Secretary of the Navy is a statutory officer and the head of the Department of the Navy, a military department within the Department of Defense of the United States of America.

A painting depicting president George Washington and his troops before their march to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794. WhiskeyRebellion.jpg
A painting depicting president George Washington and his troops before their march to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.

The exact degree of authority that the Constitution grants to the president as commander-in-chief has been the subject of much debate throughout American history, with Congress at various times granting the president wide authority and at others attempting to restrict that authority. [10] Pursuant to the War Powers Resolution of 1973, Congress must authorize any troop deployments longer than 60 days, although that process relies on triggering mechanisms that have never been employed, rendering it ineffectual. [11] Additionally, Congress provides a check to presidential military power through its control over military spending and regulation. Presidents have historically initiated the process for going to war, [12] [13] but critics have charged that there have been several conflicts in which presidents did not get official declarations, including Theodore Roosevelt's military move into Panama in 1903, [12] the Korean War, [12] the Vietnam War, [12] and the invasions of Grenada in 1983 [14] and Panama in 1989. [15]

War Powers Resolution 1973 U.S. federal law limiting the power of the president to declare war

The War Powers Resolution is a federal law intended to check the president's power to commit the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of the U.S. Congress. The Resolution was adopted in the form of a United States Congressional joint resolution. It provides that the U.S. President can send the Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, "statutory authorization," or in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

Theodore Roosevelt 26th president of the United States

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was an American statesman, politician, conservationist, naturalist, and writer who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He served as the 25th vice president from March to September 1901 and as the 33rd governor of New York from 1899 to 1900. As a leader of the Republican Party, he became a driving force for the Progressive Era in the United States in the early 20th century. His face is depicted on Mount Rushmore alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. He is generally ranked in polls of historians and political scientists as one of the five best presidents.

Panama Republic in Central America

Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country's 4 million people.

The amount of military detail handled personally by the president in wartime has varied dramatically. [16] George Washington, the first U.S. president, firmly established military subordination under civilian authority. In 1794, Washington used his constitutional powers to assemble 12,000 militia to quell the Whiskey Rebellion—a conflict in western Pennsylvania involving armed farmers and distillers who refused to pay excise tax on spirits. According to historian Joseph Ellis, this was the "first and only time a sitting American president led troops in the field", though James Madison briefly took control of artillery units in defense of Washington D.C. during the War of 1812. [17]

George Washington American politician and military leader

George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Previously, he led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War for Independence. He presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the U.S. Constitution and a federal government. Washington has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.

Civilian control of the military is a doctrine in military and political science that places ultimate responsibility for a country's strategic decision-making in the hands of the civilian political leadership, rather than professional military officers. The reverse situation, where professional military officers control national politics, is called a military dictatorship. A lack of control over the military may result in a state within a state. One author, paraphrasing Samuel P. Huntington's writings in The Soldier and the State, has summarized the civilian control ideal as "the proper subordination of a competent, professional military to the ends of policy as determined by civilian authority".

Whiskey Rebellion tax protest in the United States from 1791 to 1794

The Whiskey Rebellion was a tax protest in the United States beginning in 1791 and ending in 1794 during the presidency of George Washington, ultimately under the command of American Revolutionary war veteran Major James McFarlane. The so-called "whiskey tax" was the first tax imposed on a domestic product by the newly formed federal government. It became law in 1791, and was intended to generate revenue for the war debt incurred during the Revolutionary War. The tax applied to all distilled spirits, but American whiskey was by far the country's most popular distilled beverage in the 18th century, so the excise became widely known as a "whiskey tax". Farmers of the western frontier were accustomed to distilling their surplus rye, barley, wheat, corn, or fermented grain mixtures to make whiskey. These farmers resisted the tax. In these regions, whiskey often served as a medium of exchange. Many of the resisters were war veterans who believed that they were fighting for the principles of the American Revolution, in particular against taxation without local representation, while the federal government maintained that the taxes were the legal expression of Congressional taxation powers.

Abraham Lincoln was deeply involved in strategy development and day-to-day operation during the American Civil War, 1861–1865; historians have given Lincoln high praise for his strategic sense and his ability to select and encourage commanders such as Ulysses S. Grant. [18] On the other extreme, Woodrow Wilson paid very little attention to operational military details of World War I and had very little contact with the War Department or with General John J. Pershing, who had a high degree of autonomy as commander of the armies in France. [19] As president in World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt worked closely with his generals, and admirals, and assigned Admiral William D. Leahy as "Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief". [20] Harry S. Truman believed in a high amount of civilian leadership of the military, making many tactical and policy decisions based on the recommendations of his advisors—including the decision to use atomic weapons on Japan, to commit American forces in the Korean War, and to terminate Douglas MacArthur from his command. [21] Lyndon B. Johnson kept a very tight personal control of operations during the Vietnam War, which some historians have sharply criticized. [22]

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the ensuing Gulf War in 1991 saw George H. W. Bush assemble and lead one of the largest military coalitions of nations in modern times. Confronting a major constitutional issue of murky legislation that left the wars in Korea and Vietnam without official declarations of war, Congress quickly authorized sweeping war-making powers for Bush. [23] The leadership of George W. Bush during the War in Afghanistan and Iraq War achieved mixed results. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks by al-Qaeda, the subsequent War on Terror that followed, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq due to Iraq's alleged sponsorship of terrorism and possession of weapons of mass destruction, the speed at which the Taliban and Ba'ath Party governments in both Kabul and Baghdad were toppled by an overwhelming superiority of American and allied forces defied the predictions of many military experts. However, insufficient post-war planning and strategy by Bush and his advisors to rebuild those nations were costly. [24] [25]

During the 20th century, certain area commanders came to be called "Commander-in-chief". [26] As of 2011, there are nine combatant commanders; six have regional responsibilities, and three have functional responsibilities. Before 2002, the combatant commanders were referred to in daily use as commanders-in-chief (for instance "Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command"), even though the positions were in fact already statutory designated as "combatant commander" (CCDR). [27] On 24 October 2002, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced his decision that the use of commander-in-chief would thereafter be reserved for the president only. [28]

The president, as commander-in-chief, may also call into federal service individual state units of the National Guard. In times of war or national emergency, the Congress may grant the president broader powers to manage the national economy and protect the security of the United States, but these powers were not expressly granted by the Constitution. [29]

Executive powers

Within the executive branch itself, the president has broad powers to manage national affairs and the priorities of the government. The president can issue rules, regulations, and instructions called executive orders, which have the binding force of law upon federal agencies but do not require approval of the United States Congress. Executive orders are subject to judicial review and interpretation.

The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 put additional responsibilities on the presidency for the preparation of the United States federal budget, although Congress was required to approve it. [30] The act required the Office of Management and Budget to assist the president with the preparation of the budget. Previous presidents had the privilege of impounding funds as they saw fit, however the United States Supreme Court revoked the privilege in 1998 as a violation of the Presentment Clause. The power was available to all presidents and was regarded as a power inherent to the office. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 was passed in response to large-scale power exercises by President Nixon. The act also created the Congressional Budget Office as a legislative counterpoint to the Office of Management and Budget.

The president has several options when presented with a bill from Congress. If the president agrees with the bill, he can sign it into law within ten days of receipt. If the president opposes the bill, he can veto it and return the bill to Congress with a veto message suggesting changes unless the Congress is out of session then the president may rely on a pocket veto.

Presidents are required to approve all of a bill or none of it; selective vetoes have been prohibited. In 1996, Congress gave President Bill Clinton a line-item veto over parts of a bill that required spending federal funds. The Supreme Court, in Clinton v. New York City , found Clinton's veto of pork-barrel appropriations for New York City to be unconstitutional because only a constitutional amendment could give the president line-item veto power. [31]

When a bill is presented for signature, the president may also issue a signing statement with expressions of their opinion on the constitutionality of a bill's provisions. The president may even declare them unenforceable but the Supreme Court has yet to address this issue. [32]

Congress may override vetoes with a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate. The process has traditionally been difficult and relatively rare. The threat of a presidential veto has usually provided sufficient pressure for Congress to modify a bill so the president would be willing to sign it.

Much of the legislation dealt with by Congress is drafted at the initiative of the executive branch. [33] The president may personally propose legislation in annual and special messages to Congress including the annual State of the Union address and joint sessions of Congress. If Congress has adjourned without acting on proposals, the president may call a special session of the Congress.

Beyond these official powers, the U.S. president, as a leader of his political party and the United States government, holds great sway over public opinion whereby they may influence legislation.

To improve the working relationship with Congress, presidents in recent years have set up an Office of Legislative Affairs. Presidential aides have kept abreast of all important legislative activities.

Powers of appointment

Before taking office, the president-elect and his transition team must appoint people to more than 6,000 federal positions. [34] The appointments range from top officials at U.S. government agencies, to the White House Staff, and members of the United States diplomatic corps. Many, but not all, of these positions at the highest levels are appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. [35]

The president also nominates persons to fill federal judicial vacancies, including federal judges, such as members of the United States courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. These nominations require Senate confirmation, and this can provide a major stumbling block for presidents who wish to shape the federal judiciary in a particular ideological stance.

As head of the executive branch, the president appoints the top officials for nearly all federal agencies.[ discuss ] These positions are listed in the Plum Book which outlines more than seven thousand appointive positions in the government. Many of these appointments are made by the president. In the case of ten agencies, the president is free to appoint a new agency head. For example, it is not unusual for the CIA's director or NASA's administrator to be changed by the president. Other agencies that deal with federal regulation such as the Federal Reserve Board or the Securities and Exchange Commission have set terms that will often outlast presidential terms. For example, governors of the Federal Reserve serve for fourteen years to ensure agency independence. The president also appoints members to the boards of directors for government-owned corporations such as Amtrak. The president can also make a recess appointment if a position needs to be filled while Congress is not in session. [36]

In the past, presidents could appoint members of the United States civil service. This use of the spoils system allowed presidents to reward political supporters with jobs. Following the assassination of President James Garfield by Charles J. Guiteau, a disgruntled office seeker, Congress instituted a merit-based civil service in which positions are filled on a nonpartisan basis. [37] The Office of Personnel Management now oversees the staffing of 2.8 million federal jobs in the federal bureaucracy.

The president must also appoint his staff of aides, advisers, and assistants. These individuals are political appointments and are not subject to review by the Senate. All members of the staff serve "at the pleasure of the President". [38] [39] Since 1995, the president has been required to submit an annual report to Congress listing the name and salary of every employee of the White House Office. The 2011 report listed 454 employees. [40]

Executive clemency

Article II of the United States Constitution gives the president the power of clemency. The two most commonly used clemency powers are those of pardon and commutation. A pardon is an official forgiveness for an acknowledged crime. Once a pardon is issued, all punishment for the crime is waived. A person seeking executive clemency by pardon, reprieve, commutation of sentence, or remission of fine shall execute a formal petition. The petition shall be addressed to the president of the United States and shall be submitted to the pardon attorney, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. 20530, except for petitions relating to military offenses. A person accepting the pardon through execution of a formal petition must, however, acknowledge that the crime did take place. [41] The president can only grant pardons for federal offences. [42] The president maintains the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice to review all requests for pardons. The president can also commute a sentence which, in effect, changes the punishment to time served. While the guilty party may be released from custody or not have to serve out a prison term, all other punishments still apply.

Most pardons are issued as oversight of the judicial branch, especially in cases where the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are considered too severe. This power can check the legislative and judicial branches by altering punishment for crimes. Presidents can issue blanket amnesty to forgive entire groups of people. For example, President Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to Vietnam draft dodgers who had fled to Canada. Presidents can also issue temporary suspensions of prosecution or punishment in the form of respites. This power is most commonly used to delay federal sentences of execution.

Pardons can be controversial when they appear to be politically motivated. President George W. Bush commuted the sentence of White House staffer Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Foreign affairs

Under the Constitution, the president is the federal official that is primarily responsible for the relations of the United States with foreign nations. The president appoints ambassadors, ministers, and consuls (subject to confirmation by the Senate) and receives foreign ambassadors and other public officials. [29] With the secretary of state, the president manages all official contacts with foreign governments.

On occasion, the president may personally participate in summit conferences where heads of state meet for direct consultation. [43] For example, President Wilson led the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 after World War I; President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with Allied leaders during World War II; and every president sits down with world leaders to discuss economic and political issues and to reach agreements.

Through the Department of State and the Department of Defense, the president is responsible for the protection of Americans abroad and of foreign nationals in the United States. The president decides whether to recognize new nations and new governments, [44] and negotiate treaties with other nations, which become binding on the United States when approved by two-thirds of the Senate. The president may also negotiate executive agreements with foreign powers that are not subject to Senate confirmation. [45]

Emergency powers

The Constitution does not expressly grant the president additional powers in times of national emergency. However, many scholars think that the Framers implied these powers because the structural design of the Executive Branch enables it to act faster than the Legislative Branch. Because the Constitution remains silent on the issue, the courts cannot grant the Executive Branch these powers when it tries to wield them. The courts will only recognize a right of the Executive Branch to use emergency powers if Congress has granted such powers to the president. [46]

A claim of emergency powers was at the center of President Abraham Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus without Congressional approval in 1861. Lincoln claimed that the rebellion created an emergency that permitted him the extraordinary power of unilaterally suspending the writ. With Chief Justice Roger Taney sitting as judge, the Federal District Court of Maryland struck down the suspension in Ex parte Merryman , although Lincoln ignored the order. [47]

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt similarly invoked emergency powers when he issued an order directing that all Japanese Americans residing on the West Coast be placed into internment camps during World War II. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this order in Korematsu v. United States . [48]

Harry Truman declared the use of emergency powers when he nationalized private steel mills that failed to produce steel because of a labor strike in 1952. [49] With the Korean War ongoing, Truman asserted that he could not wage war successfully if the economy failed to provide him with the material resources necessary to keep the troops well-equipped. [50] The U.S. Supreme Court, however, refused to accept that argument in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer , voting 6-3 that neither commander-in-chief powers nor any claimed emergency powers gave the president the authority to unilaterally seize private property without Congressional legislation. [51]

Executive privilege

Executive privilege gives the president the ability to withhold information from the public, Congress, and the courts in national security and diplomatic affairs. [52] George Washington first claimed privilege when Congress requested to see Chief Justice John Jay's notes from an unpopular treaty negotiation with Great Britain. While not enshrined in the Constitution, Washington's action created the precedent for privilege. When Richard Nixon tried to use executive privilege as a reason for not turning over subpoenaed audio tapes to a special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Nixon that privilege was not absolute. The Court reasoned that the judiciary’s interest in the “fair administration of criminal justice” outweighed President Nixon’s interest in keeping the evidence secret. [53] Later President Bill Clinton lost in federal court when he tried to assert privilege in the Lewinsky affair. The Supreme Court affirmed this in Clinton v. Jones , which denied the use of privilege in cases of civil suits. [54]

Constraints on presidential power

Because of the vast array of presidential roles and responsibilities, coupled with a conspicuous presence on the national and international scene, political analysts have tended to place great emphasis on the president's powers. Some have even spoken of "the imperial presidency", referring to the expanded role of the office that Franklin D. Roosevelt maintained during his term.

President Theodore Roosevelt famously called the presidency a "bully pulpit" from which to raise issues nationally, for when a president raises an issue, it inevitably becomes subject to public debate. A president's power and influence may have limits, but politically the president is certainly the most important power in Washington and, furthermore, is one of the most famous and influential of all Americans.

Though constrained by various other laws passed by Congress, the president's executive branch conducts most foreign policy, and their power to order and direct troops as commander-in-chief is quite significant (the exact limits of a president's military powers without Congressional authorization are open to debate).

The Separation of Powers devised by the founding fathers was designed to do one primary thing: to prevent the majority from ruling with an iron fist. [55] Based on their experience, the framers shied away from giving any branch of the new government too much power. The separation of powers provides a system of shared power known as "checks and balances". For example, the president appoints judges and departmental secretaries, but these appointments must be approved by the Senate. The president can veto bills, or deny them. If he does that, the bill is sent back to Congress.

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Veto legal power to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation

A veto is the power to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation. A veto can be absolute, as for instance in the United Nations Security Council, whose permanent members can block any resolution, or it can be limited, as in the legislative process of the United States, where a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate will override a Presidential veto of legislation. A veto may give power only to stop changes, like the US legislative veto, or to also adopt them, like the legislative veto of the Indian President, which allows him to propose amendments to bills returned to the Parliament for reconsideration.

Federal government of the United States National government of the United States

The federal government of the United States is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the president and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of Congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.

A presidency is an administration or the executive, the collective administrative and governmental entity that exists around an office of president of a state or nation. Although often the executive branch of government, and often personified by a single elected person who holds the office of "president," in practice, the presidency includes a much larger collective of people, such as chiefs of staff, advisers and other bureaucrats. Although often led by a single person, presidencies can also be of a collective nature, such as the presidency of the European Union is held on a rotating basis by the various national governments of the member states. Alternatively, the term presidency can also be applied to the governing authority of some churches, and may even refer to the holder of a non-governmental office of president in a corporation, business, charity, university, etc. or the institutional arrangement around them. For example, "the presidency of the Red Cross refused to support his idea." Rules and support to discourage vicarious liability leading to unnecessary pressure and the early termination of term have not been clarified. These may not be as yet supported by state let initiatives. Contributory liability and fraud may be the two most common ways to become removed from term of office and/or to prevent re-election

Executive order Federal administrative instruction issued by the President of the United States

In the United States, an executive order is a directive issued by the president of the United States that manages operations of the federal government. The legal or constitutional basis for executive orders has multiple sources. Article Two of the United States Constitution gives the president broad executive and enforcement authority to use their discretion to determine how to enforce the law or to otherwise manage the resources and staff of the executive branch. The ability to make such orders is also based on express or implied Acts of Congress that delegate to the president some degree of discretionary power.

Governor of South Carolina Head of state and of government of the U.S. state of South Carolina

The governor of the State of South Carolina is the head of state for the state of South Carolina. Under the South Carolina Constitution, the governor is also the head of government, serving as the chief executive of the South Carolina executive branch. The governor is the ex officio commander-in-chief of the National Guard when not called into federal use. The governor's responsibilities include making yearly "State of the State" addresses to the South Carolina General Assembly, submitting an executive budget and ensuring that state laws are enforced.

President of Liberia Wikimedia list article

The president of the Republic of Liberia is the head of state and government of Liberia. The president serves as the leader of the executive branch and as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia.

Executive privilege is the right of the president of the United States and other members of the executive branch to maintain confidential communications under certain circumstances within the executive branch and to resist some subpoenas and other oversight by the legislative and judicial branches of government in pursuit of particular information or personnel relating to those confidential communications. The right comes into effect when revealing information would impair governmental functions. Neither executive privilege nor the oversight power of Congress is explicitly mentioned in the United States Constitution. However, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that executive privilege and congressional oversight each are a consequence of the doctrine of the separation of powers, derived from the supremacy of each branch in its own area of Constitutional activity.

President of Burundi Head of state of the Republic of Burundi

The President of Burundi, officially the President of the Republic, is the head of state and head of government of the Republic of Burundi. The president is also commander-in-chief of the National Defence Force. The office of the presidency was established when Michel Micombero declared Burundi a republic on 28 November 1966. The first constitution to specify the powers and duties of the president was the constitution of 1974 adopted in 1976. The constitution, written by Micombero, affirmed Micombero's position as the first president of Burundi. The powers of the president currently derive from the 2005 constitution implemented as a result of the 2000 Arusha Accords after the Burundian Civil War. The current president is Pierre Nkurunziza, who has held office since being elected first president of the post-transition republic on 19 August 2005.

President of the Confederate States of America head of state and of government of the Confederate States

The president of the Confederate States was the elected head of state and government of the Confederate States. The president also headed the executive branch of government and was commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, and of the militia of the several states when called into Confederate service.

Separation of powers under the United States Constitution

This can be done through system called checks and balances, which allows the branches of the government to have equal power and prevent a tyranny. This system was created by Montesquieu.

The unitary executive theory is a theory of US constitutional law holding that the US president possesses the power to control the entire executive branch. The doctrine is rooted in Article Two of the United States Constitution, which vests "the executive power" of the United States in the President. Although that general principle is widely accepted, there is disagreement about the strength and scope of the doctrine. The former group argue, for example, that Congress's power to interfere with intra-executive decision-making is limited, and that the President can control policy-making by all executive agencies within the limits set for those agencies by Congress. Still others agree that the Constitution requires a unitary executive, but believe this to be harmful, and propose its abolition by constitutional amendment.

A plenary power or plenary authority is a complete and absolute power to take action on a particular issue, with no limitations. It is derived from the Latin term plenus ("full").

National Emergencies Act

The National Emergencies Act (NEA) is a United States federal law passed to end all previous national emergencies and to formalize the emergency powers of the President.

<i>The Imperial Presidency</i> book by Arthur M. Schlesinger jr.

The Imperial Presidency, by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., is a book published in 1973 by Houghton Mifflin. This book details the history of the Presidency of the United States from its conception by the Founding Fathers through the latter half of the 20th century. The author wrote the book out of two concerns: first, that the US Presidency was out of control and second, that the Presidency had exceeded its constitutional limits.

United States constitutional law is the body of law governing the interpretation and implementation of the United States Constitution.

Presidential reorganization authority

Presidential reorganization authority is a term used to refer to a major statutory power that has sometimes been temporarily extended by the United States Congress to the President of the United States. It permits the president to divide, consolidate, abolish, or create agencies of the United States federal government by presidential directive, subject to limited legislative oversight. First granted in 1932, presidential reorganization authority has been extended to nine presidents on 16 separate occasions. As of 2017, it was most recently granted to Ronald Reagan.

Federal pardons in the United States US pardons by the federal government

A federal pardon in the United States is the action of the President of the United States that completely sets aside the punishment for a federal crime. The authority to take such action is granted to the president by Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Under the Constitution, the president's clemency power extends to federal criminal offenses. All requests for executive clemency for federal offenses are directed to the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice for investigation and review. The beneficiary of a pardon needs to accept the pardon. The Supreme Court stated that a pardon carries an "imputation of guilt," and acceptance of a pardon is a confession to such guilt.


  1. Joseph G. Dawson, ed. Commanders in Chief: Presidential Leadership in Modern Wars (1993)
  2. "United States Constitution". United States Senate. September 17, 1787. To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water
  3. Matthew Moten, Presidents and Their Generals: An American History of Command in War (2014)
  4. King, Archibald (1960) [1949]. Command of the Army (PDF) (reprint). Military Affairs. Charlottesville, Virginia: The Judge Advocate General's School, U.S. Army.
  5. 50 U.S.C.   § 401
  6. 10 U.S.C.   § 113
  7. "DOD Releases Unified Command Plan 2011". United States Department of Defense . April 8, 2011. Archived from the original on May 13, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  8. 10 U.S.C.   § 164
  9. Joint Chiefs of Staff. About the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  10. Ramsey, Michael; Vladeck, Stephen. ""Common Interpretation: Commander in Chief Clause"". National Constitution Center Educational Resources (some internal navigation required). National Constitution Center. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  11. Christopher, James A.; Baker, III (July 8, 2008). "The National War Powers Commission Report". The Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 26, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2010. No clear mechanism or requirement exists today for the president and Congress to consult. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 contains only vague consultation requirements. Instead, it relies on reporting requirements that, if triggered, begin the clock running for Congress to approve the particular armed conflict. By the terms of the Resolution, however, Congress need not act to disapprove the conflict; the cessation of all hostilities is required in 60 to 90 days merely if Congress fails to act. Many have criticized this aspect of the Resolution as unwise and unconstitutional, and no president in the past 35 years has filed a report "pursuant" to these triggering provisions.
  12. 1 2 3 4 "The Law: The President's War Powers". Time. June 1, 1970. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  13. Mitchell, Alison (May 2, 1999). "The World; Only Congress Can Declare War. Really. It's True". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2009. Presidents have sent forces abroad more than 100 times; Congress has declared war only five times: the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish–American War, World War I and World War II.
  14. Mitchell, Alison (May 2, 1999). "The World; Only Congress Can Declare War. Really. It's True". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2009. President Reagan told Congress of the invasion of Grenada two hours after he had ordered the landing. He told Congressional leaders of the bombing of Libya while the aircraft were on their way.
  15. Gordon, Michael R. (December 20, 1990). "U.S. troops move in panama in effort to seize noriega; gunfire is heard in capital". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2009. It was not clear whether the White House consulted with Congressional leaders about the military action, or notified them in advance. Thomas S. Foley, the Speaker of the House, said on Tuesday night that he had not been alerted by the Administration.
  16. Andrew J. Polsky, Elusive Victories: The American Presidency at War (Oxford University Press, 2012) online review
  17. "George Washington and the Evolution of the American Commander in Chief". The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
  18. James M. McPherson, Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln As Commander in Chief (2009)
  19. John Milton Cooper, Woodrow Wilson: A Biography (2009) ch 18
  20. Eric Larrabee, Commander in Chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants, and Their War (2004)
  21. The Awesome Power: Harry S. Truman as Commander in Chief. LSU Press. pp. 265–269.
  22. Larry Berman, Lyndon Johnson's War: The Road to Stalemate in Vietnam (1991)
  23. "The Presidency of George H.W. Bush". University of North Carolina School of Education.
  24. Accessing the George W. Bush Presidency. Edinburgh University Press. p. 261.
  25. Presidential Decisions for War. JHU Press.
  26. CINCLANTFLT navy.mil
  27. 10 U.S.C.   § 164
  28. "CINC" Is Sunk, American Forces Press Service, 25 October 2002. Retrieved on 2016-05-04.
  29. 1 2 "Executive Power". Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  30. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2011-10-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. Dewar, Hellen; Biskupic, Joan (1998-06-26). "Court Strikes Down Line-Item Veto". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  32. Abramowitz, Michael (2006-07-24). "Bush's Tactic of Refusing Laws Is Probed". The Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  33. "Presidential Powers". www.let.rug.nl. University of Groningen. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  34. "Presidential Powers".
  35. Fairlie, John. "The Administrative Powers of the President". Michigan Law Review. 2 (3): 190–210. JSTOR   1273781 .
  36. "Annotated Constitution Article II". Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  37. Ornstein, Norm. "How the Assassination of James A. Garfield Haunts VA Reform". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  38. "Serving at the Pleasure of the President: The Nomination Papers of the United States Senate, 1789–1946".
  39. https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/11183.html Executive Order 11183--Establishing the President's Commission on White House Fellowships
  40. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-05-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) 2011 Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff
  41. "Pardon Information and Instructions". www.justice.gov. 12 January 2015.
  42. "Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Executive Clemency | PARDON | Department of Justice". www.justice.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  43. Costly, Andrew. "Foreign Policy - Constitutional Rights Foundation". www.crf-usa.org. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  44. Schulman, Marc. "Recognition". historycentral.com. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  45. "Treaty vs. Executive Agreement". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  46. Louis, Fisher (2007). Constitutional Conflicts Between Congress and the President. University Press of Kansas. pp. 249–272. ISBN   0700615342.
  47. Greenberg, David (2001-11-30). "Lincoln's Crackdown". Slate. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  48. Konkoly, Toni. "The Supreme Court . Law, Power & Personality . Famous Dissents . Korematsu v. United States (1944) | PBS". www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  49. Schwarz, Jon (2017-01-26). "Executive Orders Are Normal; Trump's Are Only Appalling Because of What They Say". The Intercept. Retrieved 2017-02-04.
  50. "Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer 343 U.S. 579 (1952)". Justia Law. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  51. "C-SPAN Landmark Cases | Youngstown V Sawyer". landmarkcases.c-span.org. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  52. "United States v. Nixon". Oyez. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  53. "Summary of the Decision United States v. Nixon". landmarkcases.org. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  54. "Presidential Immunity From Judicial Direction". Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  55. "Federalist Papers No. 51".