American StudiesPolitical studies

Executive Power of US President

Within the executive branch itself, the president has broad powers to manage national affairs and the priorities of the government. The president can issue rules, regulations, and instructions called executive orders, which have the binding force of law upon federal agencies but do not require approval of the United States Congress. Executive orders are subject to judicial review and interpretation.

President as Chief Administrator:-

The President assumes high technical responsibilities as head of the national administration. It is the duty of the President, as Chief Executive, to see that the Constitution, laws and treaties of the United States, and decisions rendered. by the federal courts are duly enforced throughout the country.

He may, accordingly, direct the heads of the Departments and their subordinates in the discharge of the functions vested in them by the Acts of Congress. It is true that Congress has assumed the power of deciding the structure and extent of authority of administrative. Departments, but it-does not detract the right of the President to control administration. There are some Departments which are placed by law under, his direct control.

Moreover; the Constitution entrusts him with the duty of the faithful execution of the laws. The Constitution also permits him to require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices. This provision when supplemented by the decision of the Supreme Court that the President is bound to see that an officer faithfully carries out the duties assigned to him by law makes the legal position Of the President supreme.

Finally, the President has the power to remove the head of the Department who refuses to obey his orders. His authority to determine and direct, within the framework of law, the steps to be taken by that officer is clear and definite, He is not likely, of course, observes Charles Beard, to quarrel with a Cabinet officer over details but when there is a serious conflict over important public policies, the President, if firm in his views, will prevail, and the officer will yield, resign, or be dismissed.

Such a conflict occurred in the administration of President Coolidge in 1924, between the President and the Attorney-General Harry M. Daugherty; and the Attorney-General was forced to resign under protest in 1946, President Truman ousted Henry A. Wallace from the Department of Commerce after a clash of opinions over foreign policy. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance resigned in April 1980 because he disagreed with President Carter’s decision to attempt a military rescue of the American hostages in Iran. So did General Haig, Reagan’s Secretary of State and a few more resigned on the issue of mandatory sanctions against South Africa and secret supply of arms to Iran.

Thus, upon the President rests the overwhelming responsibility for the administration of the national government. The simple provision of the Constitution which vests in him the duty of seeing that all the laws of the United States are properly executed carries the awesome significance of this responsibility.

The Report of the Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government stated. The critical state of world affairs requires the government of the United States to speak and act with unity of purpose, firmness, and restraint in dealing with other nations. It must act decisively to preserve its human and material resources.

It must develop strong machinery for the national defense, while seeking to construct an enduring world peace. It cannot perform these tasks if its organization for development and execution of policy is confused and disorderly, or if the Chief Executive is handicapped in providing firm direction to the departments and agencies.

When Jefferson became President, the federal government employed 2,120 persons. Today by latest count, the President heads a colossal establishment of over 25 million Federal civilian employees, These employees work in 2,117 component units of federal administration in 2,117 departments, services, bureaus, commissions, boards, governmental corporations and other types of agencies. They are spread throughout the world and their wages alone amount to over 18 billion dollars a year.

It is impossible for any President, whatever be the extent of his drive and however dynamic personality he may possess, to keep proper supervision over all the administrative agencies. And despite the immensity of the job, the President is only a part-time administrator. His other tasks demand most of his time, attention and energy. It, therefore, necessitates some integrated system of organization which should facilitate the President for leadership and control.

This is provided, in the first place, by the Presidential Secretariat consisting of the President’s Secretaries and the staff that functions under them. They make a total of over 250 employees in the White House Office. The Secretaries are an able core of attaches to aid him in keeping abreast of administrative work. A recent development is the authorization of administrative assistants to the President in addition to the executive Secretaries.

The President’s Committee on Administrative Management urged that the lack of staff assistants to the President be remedied by the appointment of six administrative assistants who should be possessed of high competence, great physical labor, and passion for anonymity. The Administrative Reorganization Act of 1939 provided for  administrative Assistants for the president. Their duties are Not precisely described DY law but they include collecting information.

President on all matters of interest to him as Chief administrator 8 and head of his party, smoothing out troubles in politics and administration; scrutinizing and reporting on appointments to offices and work Some by the civil servants, keeping the President in touch with Congress and a liaisoning between the President and Congress, and keeping the President informed about the fluctuations in the public opinion, grievances and needs of the citizens and of States and local government with respect to the work of the federal agencies.

In addition to the three Secretaries and six administrative assistants, the President has his personal staff consisting of an assistant to the President, a special counsel to the President, an  executive clerk, and Army, Navy and Air Force aides. Outside this inner circle are the heads of a number of staff agencies who advise the President on policy and help him mun the administrative leviathan.

The most important of these is the Director of the Bureau of the Budget. Several other Presidential agencies have also vital function especially in the making of economic and military policies. They are the Council of Economic Advisers, Office of Emergency Planning and the National Security Council, the Office of the Defense Mobilization, Board of Impartial Analysis, and Office of the Personnel, etc.? The Executive Office of the President has since been expanded to a personnel of some 1, 200 Executive Secretaries, officials, assistants, clerks and other employees. Within this large group is the White House Secretariat.

Power of Law Enforcement:-

The Constitution commands the President to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. It also prescribes that the President, ° before he enters on the execution of his office, shall take an oath or affirmation that he will to -the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

As law enforcement official for the nation, the President’s responsibility is not limited to the execution of the specific provisions of Congressional statutes. It includes, as well the duty of protecting the whole constitutional system of government, guarding it against attack from any source, and ensuring to all citizens Protection against rebellion or other danger to the fights, the Constitution guarantees to them.

The President’s power, to take care that the laws be faithfully executed embraces all phases of the Constitution as interpreted by courts. If the enforcement of laws encounters a resistance, the President shall commission all the officers of the United States, including the armed forces, to see that the laws are faithfully executed. President Eisenhower dispatched federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas on September 24, 1957 to enforce Federal Court’s ruling on desegregation.

Addressing the American nation on the situation in the Little Rock and justifying the presence of federal troops there, the President ,When large gathering of obstructionists made it impossible for the decrees of the court to be carried out, both the law and national interest demanded that President take action. Five years later September, 1962) there occurred the greatest clash since the Civil War, between the Federal Government and the State of Mississippi, where Governor Bamett defied a Federal Court injunction to admit a negro, James Meredith, to the hitherto all white University of Mississippi.

Seven hundred Federal Marshals were sent to enforce the law against the State National Guards who surrounded the University on the Governor’s orders and even threatened to resist by force if the Federal Marshals brought Meredith to the University. President Kennedy ordered the mobilization of the Mississippi National Guards, thus, placing it under the command of the Federal Government.

Troops and military police were also sent and James Meredith was finally enrolled. In 1894 President Cleveland, despite the protests of the Governor of Illinois, sent soldiers to Chicago where a great railway strike, affecting the movement of commerce and mail, had taken place. President Wilson, too, resorted to the same action on the occasion of the labor dispute among the steel workers at Gary, Indiana.

Even if the President apprehends that laws are not likely to be obeyed, or there is the possibility of their being obstructed, he may order out the troops. President Harding ordered the troops to stand by when a strike threatened to tie-up the railways, Troops were sent to take over the plant of the North American Airplane Corporation in 1944 when strikers refused to heed the repudiate by peals of the President.

The extent of the President’s authority as chief law-enforcement officer of the nation is nowhere better illustrated than in the Supreme court’s decision in re Neagle, one of the most dramatic cases in American Constitutional History. In 1890 the Attorney-General of the United States, under direction of the President but without any specific statutory authority detailed United States Marshal Neagle to act as bodyguard of Justice Stephen J. Field of the Supreme Court whose life had been threatened by a citizen of California. The Justice was attacked in a railroad restaurant when Neagle shot to death the assassin. Neagle was arrested and indicted for murder by the Californian authorities.

Neagie sought a writ of habeas corpus to secure his release from Californian authorities, an action eventually appealed to the Supreme Court. His defense hinged upon finding legal authority for his special assignment, that is, the authority of the President’s appointment of an agent without statutory authorization. The Supreme Court held that inasmuch as it is the duty of the President to take care that the laws be faithfully executed there was vested in the President authority  for Neagle’s assignment, although there was no specific statute of Congress allowing the President and the Attorney-General to direct the Marshal to protect Supreme Court Judges.

The Court further declared that the President’s duty was not confined to the enforcement of the Acts of Congress or of treaties of the United States according to their express terms, but included the rights and obligations growing out of the Constitution itself, our international relations and all the protection implied by the nature of the government under the Constitution.

Presidents before and after Neagle’s time have not hesitated to use the immense power which the Constitution vests in them as such. But it does not mean that the President’s power is not without limit. It is true, that the Chief Executive may sometimes act, as President Washington did in sending troops (15,000 of them) in crushing the Whisky Rebellion of 1794; Lincoln took immediate action, with Congress not even in session, to move against, treasonable individuals who defied the power of the Union in southern States, Or as a in Neagle’s case, without

specified authorize from Congress, but he has no carte blanch to do in all cases. The Supreme Court recently acted as a brake to slow down unlimited expansionary the powers of the President. In 1952-Presidéttt Truman seize the nation’s steel mills justifying his action on the grounds of the grave national emergency facing the nation if the strike should take place.

The President was not supported in his action by authorization of Congress. The Supreme Court, in Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sewyer, found the President’s action invalid, The majority of the Court held that the President had transcended his authority, for no support of the seizure order could be found in the Acts of Congress in the President’s power as Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces, or in the general constitutional grants of executive power to the President The President, in this instance, was making baste law rather than executing it and the exercise of such a power he did not have under the doctrine of the Separation of Powers. The minority opinion, en the other hand, stressed the paramount responsibility of the President faithfully to execute the laws.

Power of Appointment:-

The power to appoint is one of the most important and effective in the list of Presidential powers. It gives the President the means to command the allegiance of a huge number of federal officers and amenability ta secure the active support of the members of Congress for his programme.

The Constitution gives the President the power to nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate to appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court and ail other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law; but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

Thus, appointments to the federal services fall under two groups officers whose appointment is entrusted by the Constitution or by an Act of Congress to the President and Senate, and inferior officers? whose appointment is vested by Congress in the President alone, the courts of law, or the heads of departments.

There has never been made a logical line of division and distinction between the superior and inferior officers. In the first category, however, are included heads of departments, judges, diplomats, regulatory Commissioners, Marshals, and Collectors of Customs. Some bureau chiefs and virtually subordinate employees fall under the second category.

Taken together, the officers belonging to superior category may number several thousand. In filling these posts the President and the Senate are subject to no restrictions, except in some cases when Congress by law may fix some qualifications as citizenship, professional qualifications, technical training, etc.

The Tenure of Office Act of 1820 fixed the tenure of great bulk of offices at four years, and even where the term is not prescribed by Statute, the custom is to replace most of them at-the expiration of four years. So in practice the four years tenure is universal,federal judges, and each President his term has at his disposal an enormousness patronage, subject to the approval of the Senate.

During 1954 Eisenhower sent in 45,916 appointments to the Senate for confirmation. Not one of these was rejected. Of the total, 42057. were military appointments, which are customarily confirmed. Of the 3,859 Civilian  appointments, just half were postmasters.

There are some appointments which are the personal choices of the President and the usual except for practice for the Senate is to ratify them promptly and without objections even if the Senate is in the hands of the party in opposition to the President, It rarely interferes with the President’s selection of his own Cabinet, that is, heads of Departments ambassadors and Supreme Court Justices.

The only two exceptions during the last forty years or so were Charles B. Warren nominated by President Coolidge as Attorney-General and rejected by the Senate, and its refusal to confirm Eisenhower’s nominee for Secretary of Commerce, Lewis, L. Strauss, for political reasons, The choice of the diplomatic representatives is also left largely to President’s discretion, although Senate’s rejection of Martin Van Buren as Minister to Britain will be remembered from this Jackson administration.

On occasions, the President may be obliged to withdraw the diplomatic nomination on grounds of political expediency. In 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt nominated Edward J.Flynn to the post of ambassador to Austria. A storm in the Senate broke out and Flynn was attacked as a politician with a clouded past and a man utterly unqualified for the position in question. President Roosevelt withdrew his name. Military and naval appointments, especially in times of crisis, are principally subject to Presidential determination.

Finally Supreme Court Justice ships are filled by the President and nearly always approved. The Senate, however, refused to approve President Hoover’s appointment of Circuit Judge John J, Parke in 1930 largely because of labor and negro opposition. It also refused to confirm President Johnson’s nominations of Abe Fortas for Chief Justice and William H. Thornberry for associate Justice, Similarly, in November 1969 Clement Haynsworth’s nomination was rejected. The Sen ate on April 8.1970 rejected President Nixon nomination of Harold Carswell to the Supreme Court.

In all other instances Senate freely uses its power to ratify or reject the appointments as it sees fit. As a rule, the Senate usually gives its consent unless there are substantial reasons to reject: Much, however, depends upon its political complexion. If the majority of the Senators belong to the President’s party, then all Presidential appointments are usually confirmed, for it requires just a bare majority of the Senators present. Confirmation of appointments need not require a two-thirds vote as in the case of ratification of treaties. Paul C. Wamke’s appointment the Senate ratified on personal appeal of President Carter, despite Democratic majority. But it forced withdrawal of Theodore C. Sorensen, Carter’s first nominee for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

A good many of the federal offices, specially those of a local nature, are subject to a custom called senatorial courtesy. This is an unwritten rule which requires that the President would confer with and secure the consent of the Senator or Senators of his party from the State to which appointment is to be made. If the President does not do so and insists on his own personal choice, the other Senators, acting under the rule of senatorial courtesy, will probably reject the nomination. One of the best examples of the operation of senatorial courtesy was the Floyd H. Robert case of 1938-39. President Roosevelt appointed Robert as judge of the Federal District Court for Western Virginia. This appointment was objected to by both the Senators belonging to the State of Virginia, and the President’s party.

The President without heeding to their objection sent the name to the Senate for confirmation and the Senate rejected it. A similar conflict occurred in 1951 between President Truman and Senator Paul H. Douglas (Democrat) over two federal Judgeships. When the President refused to accept the Senator’s candidates, Douglas opposed the President’s nominees and the Senate unanimously refused to confirm the Presidential appointments. In case the federal vacancies to be filled are located in the State which has no Senators of the President’s party, the President has Some discretion, but even there he is bound to consult party leaders in the regions concerned.

The above statement of senatorial courtesy is not the actual practice. Ordinarily, the Senators do not wait to be consulted. They keep their eyes on the possible vacancies and send messages, through the President’s liaison representative for Congressional affairs, requesting that certain of  their followers be nominated to the positions. The President may attempt to inquire into the qualifications of the nominees of the Senators, but in many instances he simply endorses their desires, In fact, he has no time for all that.

Anther class of officer subject to Presidential nomination are minor authorities like revenue officials, marshals and Federal Attorneys within Congressional districts. The custom is that the Representative, if he belongs to the President’s party, names the person to be appointed for his district and the recommendation is always accepted unless for special reasons the President desires to make a personal appointment. If the Representative does not belong to the President’s party, the patronage may go to the Senator if there is one of the President’s political party. Extension of such a kind of patronage to the Representatives is of considerable utility for maintaining their political organization.

Finally, are the great variety of federal appointments to minor offices which do not require confirmation of Senate at all. The power of all such appointments is vested by the Act of Congress in President alone or in the heads of various Departments and more than 95 per cent of federal appointments come under this category. By far the-greater portion of them are-now regarded as classified services and the appointment is made under civil service rules. Still, from 20 to 30 per cent are treated as patronage. When Congress carries the majority of the party  to which the President belongs, and the relations between the two are harmonious, then, it is inclined to increase the proportion of officials whose appointment is vested in the President alone or in heads of Departments. But in times of conflict Congress exhibits its hostility.

For example, in 1943, Congress was in revolt against President Roosevelt’s domestic policy and it severely criticized some of the appointments made by him. The Senate went to such an extent as to actually pass a Bill providing that the selection of all officials, with certain exceptions, carrying a salary of $4,100 a year or more, should be subject to the approval of the Senate. Such a threat is always a gun behind the door which Congress may employ in controlling the exercise of the President’s appointing power.

While the Constitution expressly authorizes the President to appoint officers with the consent of the Senate, it is completely silent on the question whether he may remove an officer, either with or without the consent of the Senate. The only provision in the Constitution in regard to removal! is that by impeachment. But this process of removal is cumbersome and unwieldy. Moreover, the resort to impeachment to remove a person from a petty inferior office would be, as Gamer puts it, very much like shooting birds with artillery intended for destroying battleships.

The issue of dismissal assumed an important topic in the first session of Congress. There was difference of opinion as to whether that power lay with the President alone or he could do so with the consent of the Senate only, or whether the power lay with Congress to prescribe how removals might be made. It was finally decided that the President may remove alone and there was no necessity of securing the consent of the Senate. This interpretation was accepted by the Supreme Court. In 1866, Congress passed the Tenure of office Act forbidding the President to make removals except with the consent of the Senate.

The Act of 1866, thus, reversed the custom which had been in practice for seventy-eight years and recognized the right of the President to remove officers only on securing the assent of the Senate. President Andrew Johnson violated: this Act regarding it as unconstitutional and it was one of the causes of his Impeachment in 1868. The Act was, however, repealed in 1887.

In 1876 an Act of Congress was passed providing that certain classes of postmasters could not be removed from office except with the advice and consent of the Senate. The constitutionality of this Act was contested in the Supreme Court and it was decided in Myers v. United States  that the statute was unconstitutional and that the power to remove was:implied not only from the power to appoint, but also from the general authority of the Executive to see that the laws are executed faithfully.

But this decision was modified in 1935. The Supreme Court held in Humphery’s case that a regulatory commission’s powers are quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial in nature and that the President’s removal authority could be limited in respect to officers exercising such powers.

To conclude, as to purely administrative offices, for which the President bears constitutional responsibility for the faithful performance of the duties thereof, complete and independent removal power rests in the President to be exercised on any ground. But three classes of officers cannot be removed by the President. First, the judges of the Federal Courts who can be removed by impeachment only. Second, members of the various Boards and Commissions with part legislative and part judicial powers who are protected by statutory limitations on the removal power. Third, all officers and employees who are appointed under Civil Service rules and may not be removed except for such causes as will promote the efficiency of the service.

Power of Pardon:-

The President’s power to grant pardons and reprieves is judicial in nature, and it is exclusive. The Constitution authorities the President to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in case of Impeachment. The President cannot, of course, pardon offenses against State laws. Nor can he do it in regard to impeachment offenses.

Otherwise, his authority of granting pardons is very wide and if he chooses he may grant pardon before as well as after conviction. President Ford granted general pardon to his predecessor Richard Nixon against all offenses during his tenure as President. A reprieve postpones the execution of the penalty. A general pardon, granted to a large number of offenders, is called an amnesty and is granted by proclamation. A good example of amnesty is Jefferson’s freeing all persons convicted under the Sedition Act of 1798.

In 1865 Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation offering amnesty to all those who had borne arms against the United States, with certain exceptions and subject to certain conditions. President Roosevelt issued a last minute pardon to Dr. Francis E. Townsend, who was held in contempt of a House of Representatives investigating committee.

In actual practice, the President does not himself exercise his discretion in granting pardons. He has delegated his responsibility to a large extent to the Department of Justice and acts upon its recommendations, though he may take, as President Harding personally took, steps to arrange pardon for Deles.

Military Powers:-

The Constitution declares that the President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy and the State militia when called into the service of the United States. Provisions of law empower the President to appoint military and naval officers with the advice and consent of the Senate and in time of war to dismiss them at will. The power to declare war belongs to Congress, though the President may through the conduct of the foreign affairs of the country bring about the situation when declaration of war may become a virtual necessity.

President McKinley dispatched a battleship to Havana, where it was blown up, and it helped precipitate war with Spain. In 1918 President Wilson sent American forces to Siberia to help Allied troops, when no State of war existed between the United States and Russia, fighting the Bolsheviks.

Under Harding and Coolidge armed forces were employed to suppress disorders in certain Caribbean countries. The United States declared war against Germany in 1941, but the navy had begun to fire on submarines threatening the convoys to Britain long before that. In fact, a shooting war had started in 1940. President Truman had no authorization from Congress in 1950 when he ordered American forces to resist aggression in Korea. President Nixon arrogated to himself the power to initiate a war, to invade a foreign country without a declaration of war, to keep secret for three years a massive air attack upon a neutral country.

When war actually comes, there is tremendous enhancement in President’s power both as Executive head and as Commander-in-Chief. As Commander-in Chief, he decides where the troops are to be located and where the ships are to be stationed. It is upon his orders that troops are mobilized, the fleets assembled, and the militia of the State called out.

He may direct the campaign and might, if he wished, take command of military operations, though in practice he never does so. But all major decisions of strategy, and many of tactics as well, are his alone to make or to approve. Congress may still more add to his powers by enacting blanket legislation, giving: him discretionary authority in matters of vital importance, in domestic and foreign affairs.

In World War I, President Wilson was given power to control production, purchase and sale of various kinds of material for war purposes and food supplies for troops. He had power to take over factories, mines, pipelines, etc. In fact, he had a vast reservoir of power in planning broad strategy, raising military and industrial manpower, and mobilizing the nation’s economy for war. In World War II, Congress again delegated vast authority to the President and Roosevelt became a sort of constitutional dictator. Roosevelt used Lincolnian as well as Wilsonian precedents.

In 1942, he demanded that Congress must repeal within a month a provision in the Price Control Act that protected the farmer and which it had refused to repeal earlier. This threat of Roosevelt was characterized as to claim of power on the part of the President to suspend the Constitution: in a situation deemed by him to make such a step necessary.

Roosevelt’s threat succeeded and Congress meekly repealed the provision. The Supreme Court has expressed its unwillingness to pass judgment on war policies. In the West- Coast—Japanese curfew regulations case in, 1943 the Court declared; The Constitution commits to the Executive and to Congress the exercise of the war power.

It has necessarily given them wide scope for the exercise of judgment and discretion. It is not for any court to Sit in review of the wisdom of their action or substitute its judgment for theirs. In the nuclear age of absolute weapons in which we live the next wartime President will have the right of which  Lincoln spoke, to take any measure which may best subdue the enemy. This is fully illustrated by the directions issued by George Bush to the Commander of the Allied Forces engaged in the conduct of the Gulf war.

Some forms of the Constitution, no doubt, are suspended during actual hostilities. But two basic constitutional rights do remain or have so far remained during all wars of the United States.

One is the ultimate control of the President by the people, that is, Presidential elections must be held during peace and war. In the midst of Civil War, Lincoln had to campaign for re-election and seek the verdict of the people, Roosevelt had twice to do the same in World War II. Similarly, despite certain restrictions, the basic liberties of free speech and free press have survived the hard test of war.

The President may establish military government in conquered territory and in territory acquired through cession, subject to the Acts of Congress. After World War II, military governments were act up by the United States in Italy, Japan, and in certain sections of Korea, Germany and Austria. These military governments functioned until the signing of the peace treaty and were administered by a combination of American and local personnel.

At home the President may use troops in executing federal laws against resistance that cannot be overcome by ordinary civil process. It is also his constitutional duty to guarantee to each State of the Union a republican form of government, protect it against invasion, and to order out troops to suppress domestic violence upon the ‘ application of the State Legislature or Executive.

Conduct of Foreign Affairs:-

The Constitution does nowhere expressly declare that the President is the chief foreign policy maker and the accredited official spokesman of the country in international affairs. But constitutional interpretations and practices accept him so and ascribe such functions to him. In 1799, John Marshall spoke of the President as the sole organ of the nation in its external relations, and its sole representative with foreign nations.

In the Curtis-Wright case,the Supreme Court referred to the exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the Federal Government in the field of international relations a power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress, but, which like every other governmental power, must be exercised in subordination to the applicable provisions of the Constitution.

According to the Constitution, the President appoints ambassadors and other public ministers, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, he negotiates and concludes treaties with foreign governments, subject to the ratification of two-thirds majority of the Senate, and he receives ambassadors other public ministers from foreign countries,

The power to appoint ambassadors receiver them is important, because it involves vital power of recognition. The President complete discretion to recognize or not, new governments or States. In 1902. Theodor, Roosevelt recognized the new State of Panama al few hours after a revolt had been staged with the help of United States forces. President Wilson withheld recognition from Mexican Governments which he disapproved. President Hoover tried to restrain Japan from an aggressive policy by refusing to recognize its puppet Manchukuo, Roosevelt recognized the government of Soviet Russia in 1939.

President Carter recognized China and terminated United States link with Taiwan in January 1979. Withdrawal of diplomatic agents or alterations in their assignments or instructions amounts to disapproval with the policy of the country concerned. For example, after the conquest of Ethiopia by Italy in 1936, the American legation in Addis Ababa was reduced to a consulate. A more extreme form of indicating displeasure with a country involves closing its consulates as in the case of Germany in 1940.

The President shares his treaty-making power with the Senate. But there are many other methods by which the President may bypass the Senate. The first of this kind are the Executive agreements. Executive agreements are pledges of certain action by Executives of two countries. A famous example is the gentleman’s agreement between President Theodore Roosevelt and the Emperor of Japan under which Roosevelt agreed to exert his influence and persuade Congress to kill exclusion legislation and the Emperor of Japan agreed to prohibit the emigration of coolies (laborers).

Some Executive agreements have marked famous events. The Boxer Protocol of 1901, the Atlantic Charter and the destroyer bases agreement. The Supreme Court has held that Executive agreements within range of the President’s power are to be the law of the land. Such precedents, says E. S. Cot win, make it difficult to state any limit to the power of the President and Congress, acting jointly, implement effectively any foreign policy, upon which they agree, no matter how the recalcitrant third plus one man of the Senate may feel about the matter.

In addition co the Executive agreements, Congress may confer authority on the President to make agreements with other nations. The most notable example of such Congressional authority is the Reciprocal Trade Act of 1934 which authorized the President, for a period of three years, renter into trade agreements with foreign countries, and lower tariff rates by proclamation to the extent of fifty per cent without securing the ratification by the Senate. This Act was extended once in 1937 and again in 1940. In 1943 the term was extended for two years only. These reciprocal trade agreements, although not submitted to the Senate for confirmation, are fully enforceable in,the courts.

The President may resort to secret diplomacy and consequently enter into secret agreements with foreign powers and commit himself to the pursuit of a specific policy. This he does by appointing personal emissaries of ambassadorial rank, without submitting their names to the Senate for confirmation as required in the case of more permanent appointees.

President Theodore Roosevelt sent a high emissary to Tokyo in 1905 and came to terms with Japan on certain important matters in the Far East. On her part Japan undertook to respect American dominion in the Philippines. Roosevelt, on his part, committed his government to accept the establishment of Japanese sovereignty on Korea.

He also impressed upon the Japanese Premier that the people of the United States were determined to see that peace is maintained in the Far East and that whatever occasion arose, appropriate action of the government of the United States. for such a Purpose could be counted upon by them quite as confidently as if the United States was under the treaty obligation.

The whole negotiations were So quietly arranged that nothing was known about tin America until after the death of Theodore Roosevelt. Before and after United States entered into World War II, Franklin Roosevelt held top Secret conferences with the British Prime Minister and heads of other governments. Some of the agreements reached at these conferences were made public, others were kept secret.

From Washington’s Proclamation of neutrality in 1793 Eisenhower’s decision to go to the Summit in 1955, Presidents have repeatedly committed the nation to decisive attitudes and actions abroad, More than once, to war itself. President Truman Was not exaggerating much when he told an informal gathering of the Jewish war veterans in 948, I make American policy. Reagan in his inaugural address on January 20, 1981 enunciated his Government’s foreign policy which he truly translated into action immediately after assuming office. He declared, To those neighbors and allies who share our freedom, we will strengthen our historic ties and assure them of our support and firm commitment. We will match loyalty with loyalty.

In an obvious reference to the USSR, the new President affirmed that as for the enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries, they will be reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the American people. We will negotiate for it, we will not surrender for now or ever. Above all we must realize that no weapon in the arsenal of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have. Let that be understood by those who practice terrorism and prey upon their neighbors (as in Afghanistan)

If properly evaluated the powers of the President as chief foreign policy maker and as Commander-in-Chief are, indeed, real, matter of fact, and colossal. And it is not surprising that the President’s figure looms large in world politics. In an age of international complexities and mounting tensions in which we live, every word uttered by the President of the United States is searched for meaning in foreign offices throughout the world. Whenever people talk in the capitals of their respective countries what is the United States going to do? they actually mean therefrom what is the President going to do.

As Commander-in-Chief, he deploys America’s armed forces abroad and occasionally supports politics with what is known as Presidential war making. It must, however, be noted that in spite of the immensity of his powers in the field of foreign relations much depends upon the personality of the President, the state of conditions prevailing in the country and his ability to persuade Congress to approve or at least finance his programme.

The President has, no doubt, the authority and capacity to act even independently of Congress, but he cannot act beyond Congress. Congress provides money and unless it provides what the President asks for no President can succeed in his efforts. Checks and balances Operate in foreign policy-making and these cannot be ignored.

Emergencies:-

Emergencies arise in the life of every nation and it is the fundamental right of every State to meet them and preserve its existence. Emergencies in the past concerned with the secure the State and martial law had long been justifies as an emergency power to be exercised at the time of great stress to restore law and order and ensure the security of the State. But during the last six decades emergencies have been used as reason for the exercise of other governmental powers as well, chiefly in order to combat economic emergencies that seemed to threaten the life of the nation.

In recent years, writes Gosnell, crisis has followed crisis; emergencies have appeared to create new emergencies. One wonders if the United States will ever rectum to what was formally considered normal times. An associated cause of the growth of Presidency, according to Griffiths, is the shattering series of emergencies, both foreign and domestic, that has been America’s lot during the past century.

Rossiter makes us to accept an axiom of Political Science that great emergencies in the life of a constitutional State bring an increase in executive power and prestige, always at least temporarily, more often than not permanently. He cites the examples of Lincoln, Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. Each of these men left the Presidency a stronger instrument, an office with more customary and statutory powers, than it had been before the crisis.

The Constitution of the United States does not specially provide for any kind of emergency. The Supreme Court, too, has held that emergency does not create power nor does it increase power already given in the Constitution. The exercise of emergency power of the President is based either on his military power, his responsibility to see that the laws are faithfully executed  or an emergency power delegated to him by Congress. In times of military emergency the President has always resorted to extraordinary means. But, it was not until 1933 that the President first made use of emergency powers to meet n economic crisis and since then Presidents have issued proclamations declaring both limited and unlimited national emergencies.

The laws passed by Congress are not uni- form concerning actions which may be taken in case of emergencies. Under a few, such laws the President may act only after Congress itself has declared that an emergency exists. But ordinarily Congress authorities the President himself to determine whether there is an emergency of emergency powers is both salutary and dangerous. Properly used they are restorative. Improperly used, they may become a prelude to Dictatorship.

But such a contingency cannot happen ; the United States. The system of checks and balances limits the emergency powers of the President. The Supreme Court, in Youngstow, Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952), refused to uphold President Truman when he issued an order directing the Secretary of Commerce to  take possession of and operate most of the nation’s steel mills. The President’s justification for his action was. that in order to avert national catastrophe it was necessary. The Supreme Court declared that there was no source of authority for the President’s action either in the Constitution or in any Act of Congress.

It was not even a valid exercise of the military power of President, for, according to Justice Black, the Commander in Chief does not have the power to take possession of private property in order to keep labor disputes from stopping production. This is a job for the nation’s law-making, not for its military authorities.  The Constitution does not subject this lawmaking power of Congress to Presidential or military supervision or control.

From the decision in the Youngstown Sheet  and Tube Co. v. Sawyer following inferences may be drawn when the President may act without the authorization of law :

  • There must be a real emergency;
  • It must be of a type for which Congress has not already legislated;
  • And it must be one which has arisen suddenly not affording sufficient time for action by Congress.

These are valid limitations to the exercise of emergency powers of the President, yet the President may still act in time of emergency. There may be times when these limits are obscure. Justice Clark agreeing with the majority decision in the case cited above, declared, In may view the Constitution does grant to the President exclusive authority in times of grave and imperative emergency. In fact, to my thinking, such a grant may well be necessary to the very existence of the Constitution itself. This is but a substantiation, of the doctrine, says Gosnell, that when emergency power is used properly, it is restorative in nature.

So long as American held relatively aloof from the world, cognizance of national emergencies could be taken alone. Now America has assumed for itself the status of the only super power and it has upset the old balance of the nineteenth century completely and finally. Woodrow Wilson wrote, in Theodore Roosevelt’s last year in office. The President can never again be the mere domestic figure he has been throughout so large a part in our history.

The nation has risen to the first rank m power and resources. The other nations of the world look askance upon her, half in envy, half in fear, and wonder with a deep anxiety what she will do with her vast strength. Our President must always henceforth, be one of the great powers of the world, whether he acts greatly or wisely or not. We can never hide our present President again as a mere domestic officer.

He must stand always at the front of our affairs, and the office will be as big and influential as the man who occupies it. Rossiter maintains that it may be taken as an axiom of Political Science that the more deeply a nation becomes involved in the affairs of other nations, the more powerful becomes its executive branch. The authority of the President, he says, has been permanently inflated by our entrance into world politics and our decision to be armed against threats of aggression, and as the world grows smaller, he will grow bigger.

(Read more)  The Influence of Media on Politics and Elections

SAKHRI Mohamed

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