Many argue that the most powerful branch in government is the Executive Branch. The President is considered as the most influential and the most important position in the U.S. government. However, the powers granted to Presidents and the prerogative they have exerted are not listed in the Constitution but instead have been adapted and expanded upon by each President. Although the Constitution does not define the powers of the President, it has defined Presidential powers in terms of peace, war, and emergency. A recent expansion of Presidential power, exerted by Bush and then Obama was this “War on Terror (WOT)”. President Barack Obama and his predecessor President George W. Bush have both expanded the powers of the President through the use of the Constitution, emergency war powers, and signing statements that has implications for the future of the Presidency.
The Constitution and Presidential Power
The Constitution outlines the role of each branch of the government, however the role of President in Article II is quite vague. Perhaps during the time period people were afraid of big government, so the Founding Father’s made the role of the President vague to allow for leeway instead of making it specific to further upset the people. After all, the Constitution is considered the “law of the land”. Some of the roles of the President listed in the Constitution, more specifically Article II, describes the President’s legislative role as the following: approving legislation, vetoing legislation, issuing proclamations, executive orders, and giving the State of the Union (Presidential Legislative Power). The President’s executive role are the following: Commander In Chief (in charge of army and naval forces), nominate the heads of governmental departments as well as Supreme Court Justices, make treaties, issue signing statements, issue pardons for federal offensives and convene Congress for special sessions (Executive Power). In addition, the President can make suggestions to Congress “recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient” (Article I, Section 3).
However, if the President had to only stick by what was said in the Constitution, the position would be very weak, which is not the case today. The Constitution states that the President can make treaties if two-thirds of the Senate agrees, appoint members, give Congress suggestions, and be the Commander In Chief, but that was not solely the Founding Father’s intentions. According to Chief Justice Marshall,
A Constitution, to contain an accurate detail of all the subdivisions of which its great powers will admit, and of all the means by which they may be carried into execution, would partake of the prolixity of a legal code, and could scarcely be embraced by the human mind. It would probably never be understood by the public. Its nature, therefore, requires that only its great outlines should be marked, its important objects designated, and the minor...