Roles of the President

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Roles of the President
Constitutional Roles
 Chief legislator
 Powers
 Proposes legislation
 Vetoes legislation (Calls special sessions of Congress
 Makes State of the Union to Congress (speech to country)
 Checks
 Congress need not pass legislation
 Congress can override with 2/3 vote in both houses
Chief Executive
 Powers
“Take Care” clause of Article II requires president
enforces laws, treaties, and court decisions. Clause
used to justify
 Lincoln’s suspension of habeus corpus
 Electronic eavesdropping by Bush 43 admin.
 Obama’s passage of min. wage for federal workers
Powers (Cont’d)
 Appoints officials to office, and can fire them
 Issues executive orders (which have the force
of laws) to carry out laws. These don’t need
congressional approval
FDR issues executive order to intern JapaneseAmericans during WWII
Bush 43 created Office of Homeland Security after 9-11
through an executive order (later a cabinet dept.)
Commander-in-Chief
 Power: Head of the armed forces (link w/ civilian
supremacy)
 Checks
 Congress appropriates funds for the military
 Congress declares war
 War Powers Act of 1973
Chief Diplomat
 Powers
 Sets overall foreign policy (Bush Doctrine: pre-emptive strikes)
 Appoints and receives ambassadors
 Negotiates both treaties and executive agreements
 Checks
 Congress appropriates funds for foreign affairs
 Senate can reject ambassadors and treaties
Chief of State
 Ceremonial head of our nation (e.g., throws out first
ball of baseball season, awards medal of honor, visits
areas struck by natural disasters)
 Most nations separate chief executive and chief of state
roles (e.g., Britain has prime minister and a monarch,
respectively), but the office of presidency combines both
of these roles
Chief Jurist
 Powers
 Appoints federal judges
 Issues pardons and amnesty (Bush 43 did not pardon Scooter
Libby, but commuted his sentence; can pardon him if he wants)
 Checks
 Senate can reject judicial appointments
 Senators can place “holds” on appointments
 Senate can filibuster nominees
Non-Constitutional Roles
 Head of Political Party
 Selects V.P. nomination
 Political Patronage
 “Chief Economist”
 Held responsible for overall health of economy
 Proposes the federal budget (though Congress passes one)
 “The greatest source of presidential power is not to be
found in the Constitution, but in politics and public
opinion.” (The power to persuade)