The Executive Branch Up Close
This has been an unforgettable and historical election where the first woman campaign manager in American history was able to bring a candidate to the oval office. Not to mention, this candidate is the first non-politician, non-military veteran to be elected to the high office. Regardless, certain demographics were literally in mourning for days after the election, including desperate crying fits and depression!
For this reason, I have decided to outline why we can “exchange our mourning for gladness,” because our founders placed so much emphasis on limiting the Executive Branch of government in America.
Understanding the nature and the limits of the authorities and powers granted to the Executive Branch of the federal government by the Constitution is very liberating unless you countenance tyranny. Our founders provided a way in which the different branches can impede each other, thereby slowing down the actions of government, and this is a great protection for individual liberty.
The president-elect must swear an oath to Almighty God (and to the people) to do no other than to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.” George Washington started the tradition of the added statement “so help me God” to the oath, further substantiating the dependance of the office on the reliance of Providential aid.
The powers and duties of the president include being the Commander in Chief of Army and Navy, as well as state militias when called into federal service ONLY when a war has been officially declared by Congress. This power over armed forces is shared among Congress, the president, and the States. Congress makes basic rules for armed forces; the president gives day-to-day orders and more specific regulations; the States control militias except when in federal service.
As an executive check on judicial power, a president may pardon all federal offenses (including contempt) during, or after indictment or conviction except impeachment.
The president may make treaties with concurrence of 2/3 of Senators, appoint Supreme Court justices, ambassadors, and major federal officers with advice and consent of Senate majority.
While the president may recommend legislation, someone in Congress MUST introduce it; the president CANNOT introduce legislation.
Other minor duties include the ability to convene emergency sessions of Congress, receive foreign ambassadors, commission all federal officers, and faithfully execute all laws of United States. This is the extent of Executive Orders. They are NOT laws made by the president, but simply the president seeing to it that the laws made by Congress are faithfully executed. So eliminating all the previous administration’s orders that do not comport with the Constitution is the kind of “fairness” all Americans should want.
As a final security that should bring every American “gladness”, the president may be impeached and removed from office by Congress on grounds of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story expounded on impeachment, stating, “The offences to which the power of impeachment has been and is ordinarily applied as a remedy are… what are aptly termed political offences, growing out of personal misconduct, or gross neglect, or usurpation, or habitual disregard of the public interest.”
Simply put, our founders put in place a form of government that is resistant to rapid change charged by the passions of the mob, or by designing men who hold office, which ultimately results in tyranny.
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