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4.1 The Powers of the President

Article II of the Constitution states:

"The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."

It provides for the election of the President and vice-president. It prescribes his qualifications. It provides for the succession if he has to be replaced, and for his compensation. It prescribes the oath of office. It declares that he should be commander-in-chief of the army and navy and confers on him various specified powers, including those of making treaties, appointing officers and granting pardons. He is instructed to "Take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

4.1a Treaty Power

According to the Constitution, the President, "shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators present concur." Experience shows that it is difficult to secure the two-thirds vote necessary for senatorial approval of treaties. For instance the Senate did not accept the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, after World War I, or President Jimmy Carterís SALT II Treaty on arms limitation in 1979. However four-fifths of the thousand-odd treaties submitted to the Senate were approved unconditionally.

An executive agreement can be made by the President alone, or by the President with the approval of the Congress, before or after the agreement is made. Thus when the Senate refused to ratify a proposed treaty with Santo Domingo in 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt entered into an agreement making provisions of the rejected treaty, with that country.


4.1b Appointment Power

The Constitution gives the President power to appoint with the advice and consent of the Senate. He can thus appoint not only certain designated officers, but also "all other officers of the United States.... which shall be established by law". Further it empowers Congress to rest "the appointment of such inferior officers as they think proper in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments." The offices that need senatorial confirmation are superior offices. Those that do not need it are classified as inferior offices. There are about two thousand superior positions. Undoubtedly, confirmation hearings can even get debatable. Thus the President appoints ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and judges of the Supreme Court. Often ambassadorial posts are given under the Presidentís patronage as rewards for financial and other types of support.

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Index

4.0 Introduction
4.1 The Powers of the President
4.2 The Functions of the President
4.3 The Organization of the Executive Branch
4.4 The Vice President and Presidential Succession

Chapter 5





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