As citizens and voters, it is important that we understand our Constitution and and the structure and rules that it sets forth for our government.  We need to know understand the system so we can tell when our elected leaders are doing the right things or attacking our rights and liberties.  Because of this, I will be addressing the role and authority of each branch of the government as defined in the Constitution.  I encourage everyone to go read the Constitution themselves.

In this post, we will cover the President, his roles and powers, as defined in Article II of the Constitution.    This article is composed of four sections which outline length of terms, powers, responsibilities, and removal.  In addition, there were modifications made to or impact Article II in the 12th, 20th, 22nd, and 25th amendments.  We will go through each section and what it details.  Again, please go read the Constitution to confirm these for yourself.

Section 1

This section details the terms of the position/office.

  1. Length of term – This is defined as a four year term.  This was also extended in the 22nd amendment to limit the President to two terms.
  2. How the President is elected – The President is elected by the electoral college which are appointed by the states.  This has been modified in the 12th Amendment
  3. Requirements – The President must be a “Natural Born” citizen, at least 35 years old, and have been a resident for at least fourteen years.  The phrase “Natural Born” has been to topic of discussion in recent years.
  4. Removal of the President – On removal, the Vice President become President or congress may appoint a new President until the next election.  This was modified by the 25th Amendment.
  5. Compensation – The President will receive compensation that will not be increased during his term.  He will not receive any other salary, fees, or profit while in office.
  6. The Oath of Office – Before entering office, the entering President must perform the oath as written in the Constitution which is “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Section 2

Here the Constitution explains the Presidents Powers.

  1. Commander or the Army, Navy, and State Militias – The president is in command of the military forces when they are “called into service”.
  2. Require the opinion of Officers in writing – All appointed government officers can be required to provide their written opinion/advice at the President’s request.
  3. Pardon – The President can pardon people of crimes against the United States except in cases of impeachment.
  4. The ability to make treaties with consent from the Senate – The President is to seek the advice and consent of the Senate before making any treaty.  Consent requires approval of  two thirds of the Senate before a treaty can be ratified.
  5. Appointment of ambassadors, public ministers and consuls, Supreme Court Judges, and other Officers with consent from Congress
  6. Fill vacancies while Congress is in recess – The infamous “Recess Appointment”,  This allows the President to appoint a temporary officer/offical should a vacancy occur during a recess of Congress and then that appointment expires by the end of the next session.

Section 3

This section explains the Presidents responsibilities.

  1. State of the Union Address – The President “from time to time” shall address Congress on the state of the nation and provide his recommendations and suggestions.
  2. Convene Congress in extraordinary circumstances – In case of emergency the President can call Congress to session.
  3. Adjorn congress in cases of disagreement – If Congress is stuck in disagreement, the President can force Congress into recess.
  4. Receive ambassadors and ministers –  It is the presidents responsibility to meet with the representatives of other nations on behalf of the nation.
  5. Make sure the laws are faithfully executed – This is the “Executive Order” power.  This means the President is responsible for making sure the the laws passed by Congress are executed and enforced.  This give the President the power to ensure laws passed by Congress are enforced while not violating the rights of the people and the States.
  6. Commission Officers – Once an officer is appointed and received Congress’ consent, the President can now commission the Officer into service.

Section 4

This is the removal from office.  The President, Vice President, or any Officer of the United States can be removed from office by being impeached or a conviction for treason, bribery, or other high crimes.

And that is all the power and responsibility the President has.  It simple, straight forward, and completely limited by the 10th Amendment.  I tried to keep it simple and too the point without getting into all the election intricacies or politics.  I highly suggest reading the Constitution yourselves.  The link is in the sources below.

 

Sources:

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_amendments_11-27.html

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