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The%20Executive%20Branch

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Title: The%20Executive%20Branch


1
The Executive Branch
  • No man will ever bring out of that office the
    reputation which carries him into it. The
    honeymoon would be as short in that case as in
    any other, and its moments of ecstasy would be
    ransomed by years of torment and hatred.
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

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Executive Powers
  • The executive Power shall be vested in a
    President of the United States
  • Commander-in-Chief
  • Grant reprieves and pardons
  • Make treaties (with the advice and consent of
    the Senate)
  • Nomination power (cabinet members, ambassadors
    and judges, although many appointments are
    subject to Senate approval)
  • Give to the Congress information on the State of
    the Union from time to time
  • Power to convene Congress on extraordinary
    Occasions
  • Commissions all the Officers of the United
    States, which implies removal power as well
  • The President is to recite an oath of office that
    reads preserve, protect and defend the
    Constitution of the United States

Is this an impressive list? Does it equal the
reality of presidential power in the modern age?
5
Some Examples of Presidents Who Expanded the
Executive Power
  • 1793 - George Washington and the Neutrality
    Proclamation
  • 1803 - Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana
    Purchase
  • 1846 - James Polk and the Mexican War
  • 1861 - Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War
  • 2001 - George W. Bush and the war on terror

6
The Emancipation Proclamation
Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of
the United States, by virtue of the power in me
vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and
Navy of the United States in time of actual armed
rebellion against the authority and government of
the United States, and as a fit and necessary war
measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on
this first day of January, in the year of our
Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three
order and declare that all persons held as slaves
within said designated States, and parts of
States, are, and henceforward shall be free and
that the Executive government of the United
States, including the military and naval
authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain
the freedom of said persons And upon this act,
sincerely believed to be an act of justice,
warranted by the Constitution, upon military
necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of
mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
7
President Bush and the War on Terror
The modern presidency, as expressed in the
policies of the administration of George W. Bush,
provides the strongest piece of evidence that we
are governed by a fundamentally different
Constitution from that of the framers. Noah
Feldman Who Can Check the President (2006)
  • The president authorized the National Security
    Agency (NSA) to spy on Americans without
    warrants, bypassing the procedures of the Foreign
    Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
  • Does the president, as Commander in Chief, have
    the right to override our country's laws in the
    interests of national security?

8
The 1996 Schlesinger Poll on Presidential
Greatness
  • GREAT Lincoln, F. Roosevelt, Washington
  • NEAR GREAT Jefferson, Jackson, Wilson, T.
    Roosevelt, Truman, Polk
  • AVERAGE Eisenhower, L. Johnson, Kennedy, J.
    Adams, Cleveland, McKinley, Madison, Monroe,
    Reagan, J.Q. Adams, Carter, Clinton, Van Buren,
    G.H.W. Bush, Taft, Hayes, Arthur, B. Harrison,
    Ford
  • BELOW AVERAGE Coolidge, Tyler, Taylor, Fillmore
  • FAILURE Hoover, Nixon, Pierce, A. Johnson,
    Grant, Buchanan, Harding

According to the Schlesinger poll, we have been
wallowing in mediocrity for years. Why?
Where do our most recent presidents fall on this
list?
9
Why Great Men are Not Chosen Presidents
Europeans often ask, and Americans do not always
explain how it happens that his great office, the
greatest in the world, unless we except the
papacy, to which anyone can rise by his own
merits, is not more frequently filled by great
and striking men. The safe candidate may not
draw in quite so many votes from the moderate men
of the other side as the brilliant one would, but
he will not lose nearly so many from his own
ranks. Even those who admit his mediocrity will
vote straight when the moment for voting comes.
Besides, the ordinary American voters does not
object to mediocrity. He has a lower conception
of the qualities requisite to make a statesmen
than those who have direct public opinion in
Europe have. He likes his candidate to be
sensible, vigorous, and above all, what he calls
magnetic, and does not value, because he sees
no need for, originality or profundity, a fine
culture or a wide knowledge.
James Bryce, The American Commonwealth (1888)
10
Why Great Men are Not Chosen Presidents
It must also be remembered that the merits of a
president are one thing and those of a candidate
are another thing. James Bryce, The American
Commonwealth (1888)
11
What kind of president do Americans want?
A charismatic leader and man of conviction?
A passionate leader who tells it like it is?
A well-meaning, ordinary guy?
A man who can kick butt when he needs to?
12
What kind of president do Americans want?
What kind do we get?
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Why Great Men are Not Chosen Presidents
Europeans often ask, and Americans do not always
explain how it happens that his great office, the
greatest in the world, unless we except the
papacy, to which anyone can rise by his own
merits, is not more frequently filled by great
and striking men. The safe candidate may not
draw in quite so many votes from the moderate men
of the other side as the brilliant one would, but
he will not lose nearly so many from his own
ranks. Even those who admit his mediocrity will
vote straight when the moment for voting comes.
Besides, the ordinary American voters does not
object to mediocrity. He has a lower conception
of the qualities requisite to make a statesmen
than those who have direct public opinion in
Europe have. He likes his candidate to be
sensible, vigorous, and above all, what he calls
magnetic, and does not value, because he sees
no need for, originality or profundity, a fine
culture or a wide knowledge.
James Bryce, The American Commonwealth (1888)
17
Why Great Men are Not Chosen Presidents
It must also be remembered that the merits of a
president are one thing and those of a candidate
are another thing. James Bryce, The American
Commonwealth (1888)
18
The Constitution grants the president executive
power, an extremely vague term that,
historically, has come to mean all the
complicated administrative actions associated
with the day-to-day operations of the
government. Julie Percha The Nuance You May
have Missed in Obamas Gun Control PlanPBS
NewsHour, January 5, 2016
19
Presidential Roles
  • Chief executive
  • Administers and executes the law
  • Oversees the federal bureaucracy
  • Head of state
  • Ceremonial and symbolic
  • Commander-in-chief
  • Civilian leader of the armed forces
  • Chief diplomat
  • Negotiates and signs treaties
  • Appoints diplomats
  • Receives foreign officials
  • Chief legislator
  • Sets the public agenda
  • Veto power
  • Head of party

20
Informal Sources of Presidential Power
  • POSITION - appointment power, control of national
    security apparatus
  • PRESTIGE - bully pulpit, agenda-setting, national
    interests vs. parochial interests
  • POPULARITY - going public, rally-round-the flag

21
Executive Orders Legally binding orders given by
the President, acting as the head of the
Executive Branch, generally used to direct
federal agencies and officials in their execution
of congressionally established laws or policies.
22
Executive orders are essentially instructions on
how the president wants government bureaucrats to
interpret federal law.
23
Whenever I can take steps without legislation to
expand opportunity for more American families,
thats what Im going to do. President Barack
Obama State of the Union address, 2014
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Executive Actions Any informal proposals or
moves by the president. The term executive action
itself is vague and can be used to describe
almost anything the president calls on Congress
or his administration to do. But most executive
actions carry no legal weight.
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Executive Privilege
The privilege, claimed by the president for the
executive branch of the US government, of
withholding information in the public interest.
28
Who checks the president?
Chief Executive
  • The U.S. Senate must approve presidential
    appointments
  • Civil servants are protected from the presidents
    political whims
  • Congress controls the federal budget

29
Who checks the president?
Commander-in-Chief
  • Only Congress can declare war
  • Congress controls the military budget
  • The War Powers Act (1973) stipulates that the
    president must alert Congress within 48 hours,
    troops may stay for 60 days pending Congressional
    approval, with no approval, troops must be
    withdrawn

30
Who checks the president?
Chief Diplomat
  • The Senate must ratify treaties
  • The Senate confirms ambassadors

31
Who checks the president?
Chief Legislator
  • Congress can override a presidential veto with a
    2/3 vote in both chambers
  • The courts can block some executive decisions

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The ultimate check on presidential power is
impeachment and removal
34
The Electoral College Tally, 2016
35
Habemus Papam!
36
How Presidents and Vice Presidents are Chosen
37
Are electors bound by law to cast their vote for
a specific candidate?
  • Yes in these states AL, AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL,
    HI, ME, MD, MA, MI, MS, MT, NE, NV, NM, NC, OH,
    OK, OR, SC, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY. (those in yellow
    are bound by party pledges)
  • No in these states AZ, AR, DE, GA, ID, IL, IN,
    IA, KS, KY, LA, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NY, ND, PA, RI,
    SD, TN, TX, UT, WV.

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Arguments for the Electoral College
  • Contributes to the cohesiveness of the country by
    requiring a distribution of popular support to
    become president
  • Enhances the status of minority interests
  • Contributes to the political stability of the
    nation by encouraging a two-party system

40
Arguments Against the Electoral College
  • The possibility of electing president receiving a
    minority of the popular vote
  • The risk of so-called faithless electors
  • The possible role of the Electoral College in
    depressing voter turnout
  • Failure to accurately reflect the popular will

41
Consequences
42
Reforming the Electoral College
  • Do nothingmaintain the status quo.
  • Abolish the electoral college outright and use a
    direct popular vote to determine outcomesweigh
    individual votes equally everywhere one person,
    one vote.
  • Retain the apportionment of the electoral college
    but allow for a proportional allocation of
    electoral votes.
  • Retain the apportionment of the electoral college
    but allocate one electoral vote for every
    congressional district a presidential candidate
    carries plus two more for each state.
  • Adopt a national bonus plan that would maintain
    the Electoral College but add 102 electoral votes
    to the existing total of 538 and award all of the
    bonus votes to the national popular-vote winner.

43
Four Methods for Aggregating Votes
Year Candidate Electoral College Proportional Plan District Plan Direct Popular Vote
1960 Nixon 219 266.1 278 49.5
Kennedy 303 265.6 245 49.8
Byrd 15 5.3 14 0.7
1976 Ford 240 258.0 269 48.0
Carter 297 269.7 269 50.1
Others 1 10.2 0 1.9
2000 Gore 266 258.4 267 48.2
Bush 271 260.2 271 48.0
Others 0 19.4 -- 3.8

44
Formal powers of Congress during times of war
  • To declare war, grant letters of marque and
    reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on
    land and water
  • To raise and support armies, but no appropriation
    of money to that use shall be for a longer term
    than two years
  • To provide and maintain a navy
  • To provide for calling forth the militia to
    execute the laws of the union, suppress
    insurrections and repel invasions
  • To provide for organizing, arming, and
    disciplining, the militia, and for governing such
    part of them as may be employed in the service of
    the United States, reserving to the states
    respectively, the appointment of the officers,
    and the authority of training the militia
    according to the discipline prescribed by
    Congress

An invitation to struggle
45
The Role of Commander-in-Chief
If you interpret the Constitutions saying that
the president is commander in chief to mean that
the president can do anything he wants and can
ignore the laws you don't have a constitution
you have a king They're not trying to change the
law they're saying that they're above the law
and in the case of the NSA wiretaps they break
it. Grover Norquist
The war on terror is open-ended, with no time
limit on expanded presidential powers.
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