Lesson Objectives:- How powers are granted to the president
- Emergency powers
- Executive orders
- Executive privilege
- Signing statements
There are several ways in which a president is granted his powers. Some are granted straight from the Constitution itself. Constitutional Powers are powers vested in the president by Article II of the Constitution.
Because they are the lawmaking body, Congress can also grant the president additional powers. Statutory Powers are powers created for the president through laws enacted by Congress.
Both Constitutional Powers and Statutory Powers are called Expressed Powers. That is because they are powers of the president that are expressly written into the Constitution or into statutory law.
Another way the president is granted power is through Inherent Power, or a power of the president derived from statements in the Constitution that "the executive Power shall be vested in a President" and that the president should "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."
The Constitution does not really grant the president additional powers in case of emergency, but a creative interpretation of the concept of inherent powers has led to what are called emergency powers.
Emergency Powers are inherent powers exercised by the president during a period of national crisis.
An example of this is when Abraham Lincoln called into action the state militias for the Civil War. Of course, this could also be considered to fall under his duties as Commander-in-Chief.
Congress is not the only law-making body. The president can make laws in the form of executive orders.
An Executive Order is a rule or regulation issued by the president that has the effect of law.
It is a requirement that all executive orders be recorded in the Federal Register, a daily publication of the U.S. government that prints executive orders, rules, and regulations.
The president has the right to remain silent that is granted to him by Executive Privilege. Executive Privilege is the right of executive officials to withhold information from, or to refuse to appear before, a legislative committee or a court.
Those who agree with executive privilege contend that it is vital for national security. Opponents argue that it shields actions that the American people might find questionable.
There are limits to executive privilege. A famous challenge to executive privilege came during Nixon's administration when the Watergate scandal broke out. Conversations had been taped and Nixon held them in his office. When he was ordered to hand them over, he refused under executive privilege. When the case was heard by the Supreme Court, he was forced to hand over the tapes because executive privilege cannot be used to hide evidence of a crime.
If the president does not approve of certain lines of a bill or if he thinks there are parts that are not Constitutional, he puts it in writing.
A Signing Statement is a written declaration that the president may make when signing a bill into law. It may contain instructions to the bureaucracy on how to administer the law or point to sections of the law that the president considers unconstitutional or contrary to national security interests.
A president leaves office in several ways. Most commonly, they leave when they do not get reelected or they leave after their second term. Some have died in office.
But, there is one other way to leave office.
Impeachment is an action by the House of Representatives to accuse the president, vice president, or other civil officers of the United States of committing "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Once impeached by the House, the Senate then puts the president on trial for his crimes.
Andrew Johnson was the first of two presidents who was impeached but not convicted. Clinton was the other president who was impeached, but not convicted. He was charged with lying to a grand jury about his involvement with Monica Lewinsky and also obstruction of justice. The Senate simply did not have the votes to convict.
Of course, Nixon faced impeachment, but resigned before the House could go through with it.