Presidential Powers

The Executive Branch of the United States is established in Article Two of the United States Constitution. The powers granted to the President are enumerated in Section Two of Article Two. Under Section Two, the president is named Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, meaning that the President is the utmost leader of the armed forces. However, the President is not granted the power to wage war. In addition, the President has the power to grant pardons for crimes committed against the United States (other than impeachment), the power to make treaties (with the approval of a two-thirds majority in the Senate), the power to nominate Ambassadors and other foreign ministers, Judges to the Supreme Court, and make any other nomination to public office that are not otherwise stated in the Constitution, and finally the power to fill any vacancies while the Senate is in recess.

An interesting inconsistency within the Constitution is that for all the powers granted to the President, there is no "herein granted" clause. In contrast, Article One, Section One, which grants powers to the Congress, states that, "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States." This means that the President has the capacity to interpret powers granted to him or her, in addition to the powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

In Federalist 70 (Lindley), Alexander Hamilton, considers the Executive Branch that is included in the proposed Constitution. Moreover, he specifically discusses the importance for having an "energetic," or powerful, Executive Branch. The combination of the powers specified by the Constitution and the lack of the "herein granted" clause, provides for an "energetic" Executive Branch.

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