The Executive Branch
5.3 Powers of the President
Today’s Objectives
• What are two ways a president interprets the power of the
• Why Presidential Power Has Grown?
• What is an Executive Order?
• What is Executive Privilege?
How much power should one person have?
Article II
Article II, the Constitution’s Executive
Article, begins this way:
“The executive power shall be vested
in a President of the United States of
With these few words, the Framers
established the presidency. But what
does this power mean?
What are two ways a president interprets the power of the presidency?
• Strict Constructionist
– If the Constitution does not expressly delegate a power,
then the president may not claim the power
– James Buchanan
• President has no power to compel the Southern States
not to secede from the Union
• Loose Constructionist
– If the Constitution does not expressly forbid a power, then
the president may claim the power
– Teddy Roosevelt
• Created thousands of acres of protected lands because
Constitution did not say that he couldn’t
Why Presidential Power Has Grown?
• World’s geopolitical, military, social and
economic complexity has created new
– Industrial Revolution, World Wars,
Nuclear weapons, globalization
– Convening congress may be impossible
when immediate action is required
• Mass media
– Newspapers, Radio, Television aid
presidents in gathering and holding
public attention
Let’s Review
• What does the Executive Branch do?
• Who is in charge of the Executive Branch?
• What is a Strict Constructionist v. a Loose Constructionist?
• Why has the power of the President grown over the
Today’s Objectives:
I won’t be able to sleep tonight unless I am able to:
Define what a Executive Order is and give a example of one
Define what Executive Privilege is
Describe the legislative power a president has
Describe the judicial power a president has
What is an Executive Order?
• Executive order
– A directive, rule, or regulation issued by president to
help enforce the law
– deciding how and to what degree laws will be
enforced, dealing with emergencies, waging war
– Nothing in Constitution about Executive Order
• Except Article II, Section 3, Clause 5
• Laws be faithfully executed
– Subject to Judicial Review
– Executive Order 9066
• FDR ordered Japanese Americans placed in
Interment Camps during WWII
– Truman Executive Order #9981
• desegregated military
FDR= 3rd Term, 522 EO
Obama= 175
What is Executive Privilege?
– Executive privilege –
• Presidential assertion of the right to withhold
information for Congress and Court
• Justified under principle of separation of powers
and because of need for secrecy in high-level
– Critics charge this power is used to hide questionable –
even illegal – actions
• Watergate Scandal
–US v Nixon
»Supreme Court ordered President Nixon to
turn over audio tapes of his private
conversations in Oval Office
»Showed that he ordered cover-up of Plumbers
Activities in Watergate
What is the cartoonist
implying in the cartoon of
Richard Nixon? How does it
relate to Executive Privilege?
What are the President’s Powers?
• Legislative Power
– Constitution provides that the President shall
report the condition of the nation to Congress
– State of the Union Speech used to recommend
necessary legislation
• Veto Power
–President may “forbid” a bill from becoming law
– veto may be over-ridden by 2/3 vote in both
– just the threat of a veto is often enough to kill a
Truman= 250
Obama= 2
Today’s Agenda
• Finish Powers of the President Slide Show
• Tomorrow = Review Executive Branch then Movie
• Homework
– Look over Executive Branch Notes
– Check calendar for Current Event Update
– Do something nice
• Judicial Powers
– Constitution gives the President power to “...grant reprieves
and pardons for offenses against the United States, except
in cases of impeachment.” —Article II, Section 2, Clause 1
– A reprieve is the postponement of the execution of a
– A pardon is legal forgiveness for a crime
• President Ford pardoned Nixon for the crimes he
committed (Watergate)
– Amnesty –
• Presidents may grant a pardon on a group of people,
usually for political offenses – called an amnesty –
• President Jimmy Carter pardoned all Vietnam War draft
• Nationalize Power
•President may “nationalize” the state
National Guard units for service at home &
• Eisenhower used Arkansas National
Guard troops to help enforce Supreme
Court order to de-segregate Central
H.S. in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1957
• George W. Bush nationalized national
guard in War on Terror and deployed them
to Afghanistan and Iraq
• Teddy Roosevelt threatened to nationalize
Anthracite Coal unless owners negotiated
with union
• Appointment Power
• With Senate approval, the
President names most of the topranking officers of the Federal
Government, including:
• ambassadors and other
• Cabinet members and their top
• all federal judges, attorneys, and
U.S. marshals
• all officers in the armed forces
Clarence Thomas during his controversial Senate
• The Removal Power
– President may remove the officials he
appoints without Senate consent
• except federal judges
– This power is controversial
• Saturday Night Massacre
–Nixon fired Archibald Cox who
headed a committee investigating
–Led to Nixon’s resignation
• Power to Make Treaties
–A treaty is a formal agreement
between two or more sovereign
–President, usually through the
secretary of state, negotiates these
international agreements
–All treaties must pass approval by
2/3 vote in the Senate
Play from 4:40-6:34
• Power of Recognition
• President may acknowledge the legal
existence of another sovereign state
The State of Palestine has not been
recognized by a US President
• may show American displeasure with
the conduct of another country by
asking for the recall of that nation’s
ambassador or other diplomatic
representatives in this country.
• official is declared to be persona
non grata, or an unwelcome person
• Wartime Powers
– President’s powers as commander in chief are far
greater during a war than they are in normal times
• Control War Industries
• Ration food and supplies
• Suspend personal freedoms
–Espionage Act of 1917
»Any obstruction to the war effort illegal
–Sedition Act of 1918
»forbade "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or
abusive language"
»Encouraged reporting on disloyal people
»Post Office read socialist mail
Clear and
• Power as the Commander in Chief
–Constitution makes the President the
commander in chief of the nation’s
armed forces
–Making Undeclared War
• Many Presidents have used the armed
forces abroad without a declaration of
–Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq,
Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden
• The War Powers Resolution
– The War Powers Resolution of 1973 limits the
President’s war-making powers
– Passed over President Nixon’s veto
• Restricts the use of American troops abroad
– President may not send troops unless
Congress declares war
–Or unless there is a national emergency
– If there is a national emergency – President
can send troops, but must notify Congress
within 48 hours
– After that, troops cannot remain longer
than 60 days without congressional
Blackhawk for Battle of
Culminating Activity
Zero Dark Thirty

The Executive Branch