Page images




1. Vested with Executive Power

The Constitution of the United States, disposing of the executive and judicial powers of the perfected union by articles I and III, vests "the executive power" in "a President of the United States of America." 1

2. Commander in Chief

He is made "commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States." He exercises such military command of the Army and Navy through the Secretaries of War and of the Navy, and through the Governors of the several states in calling the militia into federal service.

3. To Suppress Rebellion

On the application of the Legislature of any state, or of the executive when the Legislature cannot be convened, in case of insurrection therein against the government thereof, the President may call forth such of the militia of any other state as he may deem sufficient to suppress such insurrection, or he may employ such portion of the land and naval force as he may think necessary for the purpose. So, also, he may call out the militia of any state, or employ the land and naval forces to suppress rebellion against the United States, when the ordinary course of judicial proceedings is in his judgment impracticable. He may originate and take rigorous measures, as specified, to this end.3

4. To Suppress Piracy and Protect the Merchant Marine

He may employ the armed naval forces to suppress piracy and to protect the merchant marine of the United States from piratical aggressions. He may prescribe regulations to this end.4

5. To Use Force in Compelling Departure of Foreign Vessels

He may employ the land and naval forces, or the militia, to compel the departure of any foreign vessel when by the laws of nations or treaties with the United States such vessel should not remain.5

6. Control over Alien Enemies

He may, in case of war between the United States and any foreign power, after making proclamation, apprehend, restrain, secure, and remove alien enemies,

1 U. S. Const. art. 2, § 1.

2 U. S. Const. art. 2, § 2.

3 R. S. §§ 5298, 5299 (Comp. St. §§ 10140, 10141).

4 R. S. § 4293 (Comp. St. § 8039).

5 R. S. § 5288 (Comp. St. § 10179).

and regulate the conduct to be observed by the United States towards such persons.

7. Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons

He may grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment. Executive clemency should be sought through the Department of Justice, by filing a petition, on a blank form obtainable from that department, executed in accordance with printed instructions therewith. The petition ordinarily will pass through the office of the pardon attorney in the Department of Justice for a report. The Department of Justice will call for the recommendations of the United States district attorney and the judge who tried the case upon which the petitioner seeks clemency.

8. Treaty-Making Power

The President has power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, two-thirds of the Senators concurring, to make treaties.*

9. Appointive Powers

The Constitution requires him to nominate and appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, "ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States," established by law, when appointments are not otherwise provided for in the Constitution. Congress may invest the appointment of such inferior officers as they think proper in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the departmental heads. And the President may fill vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate by granting commissions that shall expire at the end of the session.


In case of the death, resignation, absence or sickness of a head of department or bureau or of any officer whose appointment is not vested in a department head, except in the death, resignation, absence or sickness of the Attorney General, the President may authorize and direct the head of any other department, or any officer in either department whose appointment is vested in the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to perform the duties of the vacant office. A vacancy occurring through death or resignation may not be so filled for a longer period than ten days. No temporary appointment, designation or assignment may be made, otherwise than so provided, except during a recess of the Senate."

10. To Suspend Civil Officers and Fill Vacancies

The President is authorized, during a recess of the Senate, to suspend any of the civil officers appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, except judges of United States courts, until the end of the next session of the Senate, and to designate some suitable person, subject to be removed by the designation of another, to perform the duties of the suspended officer. Within thirty days after the commencement of each session of the Senate, except for any office

6 R. S. § 4067 (Comp. St. § 7615).

2 U. S. Const. art. 2, § 2.

7 R. S. §§ 177, 178, 179, 181 (Comp. St. §§ 259-261, 263).

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

which he deems should not be filled, the President is required to nominate persons to fill all vacancies existing at the meeting of the Senate, whether temporarily filled or not, and also in the place of officers suspended; and if the Senate refuse to advise and consent to an appointment in the place of any suspended officer, then the President is required to nominate another person as soon as practicable to the same session for the office.8

11. To Commission All Officers

He "shall commission all the officers of the United States."

12. To Receive Ambassadors and Minister's

The President "shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers."9

13. Responsibility for Execution of Laws

He "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

14. Require Opinion of Departmental Chiefs

He "may 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." 2


15. Messages to Congress

"He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."9

16. To Convene Congress in Extraordinary Session

He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses, or either of them.9 Under exceptional circumstances, when, in the opinion of the President, it would be hazardous to the lives and health of the members of Congress to meet at the seat of government, he may convene Congress elsewhere.10

17. Power to Adjourn Congress

In case of disagreement between the houses of Congress, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he thinks proper. 18. Removal from Office

The President "shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” 11

19. Veto Power

Every bill which passes both houses of Congress, as well as every order, resolution or vote to which the concurrence of both houses is necessary (except upon a question of adjournment), must be presented to the President. If he approves of such measure, he signs it and it becomes a law, effective on the date of such

2 U. S. Const. art. 2, § 2.

8 R. S. § 1768.

9 U. S. Const. art. 2, § 3.

10 R. S. § 34 (Comp. St. § 33).

11 U. S. Const. art. 2, § 4.

signature. If he disapproves, he returns it, with a statement of his objections, to the house in which it originated, where such objections are entered at large on its journal and it is reconsidered. If after such reconsideration two-thirds of that house agrees to pass the measure, it is sent, with said objections, to the other house, where it is similarly reconsidered and, if approved by two-thirds of that house, it thereupon becomes a law. If any bill is not returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it is presented to him, the measure becomes a law as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by adjournment prevents such return, "in which case it shall not be a law." 12

20. Powers Exercised Through Agencies

There are many other powers vested by statute in the President incident to the execution of laws, especially of the different classes represented by the ten executive departments of the federal government, as well as the "independent establishments" hereinafter to be described. The President acts by and through the heads of such departments and through the membership of other "establishments." The acts of such subordinates are the acts of the President. It is not necessary, generally, that his direction of the subject-matter be personal for the proper performance of duties specifically imposed upon him; nor is it necessary to show that the act was done through his specific direction, for such direction is presumed as regards the official acts of the head of an authorized department.13 21. Presidential Succession Act

Eligibility to the succession to the chief executive office, in case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability of both the President and Vice President of the United States, is in the following order: Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney-General, Postmaster General, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Interior. The person upon whom the powers and duties of the Presidency devolve, in case of such succession, must within twenty days issue a proclamation convening Congress in extraordinary session, giving twenty days' notice of the time of meeting.14

By the Act of March 1, 1792, it was provided that such succession should be to the President of the Senate pro tempore, and then to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.1


22. The Term to Begin March 4

The term of four years to which a President and Vice President are elected begins on the March 4th next succeeding the day on which the votes of the electors is given.16

12 U. S. Const. art. 1, § 7.

13 Wilcox v. Jackson, 13 Pet. 498, 10 L. Ed. 264; U. S. v. Eliason, 16 Pet. 291, 10 L. Ed. 968; Williams v. U. S., 1 How. 290, 11 L. Ed. 135; 7 Op. Attys. Gen. 453; U. S. v. Farden, 99 U. S. 10, 25 L. Ed. 267; Wolsey v. Chapman, 101 U. S. 755, 25 L. Ed. 915; Scott v. Carew, 196 U. S. 100, 25 S. Ct. 193, 49 L. Ed. 403; U. S. v. Tichenor (C. C.) 12 F. 415; McCollum v. U. S., 17 Ct. Cl. 92.

14 Act Jan. 19, 1886, c. 4 (24 Stat. 1), repealing R. S. §§ 146-150.

151 Stat. 240.

16 Act March 1, 1792 (1 Stat. 241 [Comp. St. § 222]).

23. Compensation

The salary of the President was fixed at $75,000 per annum, with the use of the Executive Mansion and its furnishings,17 which must be, if purchased, of domestic manufacture so far as possible.18 He is also allowed not to exceed $25,000 annually for traveling expenses.19

24. Officers of the President's Household

The President is authorized to appoint or employ the following officers in his official household:20


Executive clerk;

Chief clerk;

Appointment clerk;

Record clerk;

Two expert stenographers;


Two correspondents;

Disbursing clerk;

Nineteen clerks;
Four messengers;

Three laborers;

Steward, housekeeper, or such other employee of the Executive Mansion as the President may designate, to have charge and custody of, and be responsible for, the plate, furniture, and public property therein, etc.o1

25. Participation in International Congresses

The Executive may not extend or accept any invitation to participate in any international congress, conference, or like event, without first having specific authority of law to do so.22

26. Threatening the President

Imprisonment and fine are provided for the offense of sending by post any missive or writing, etc., threatening the life of the President.23

17 Act Sept. 24, 1789, c. 19 (1 Stat. 72 [Comp. St: § 223]); Act Feb. 18, 1793, c. 9 (1 Stat. 318 [Comp. St. § 223]); Act March 3, 1873, c. 226 (17 Stat. 486 [Comp. St. § 223]); Act March 4, 1909, c. 297 (35 Stat. 859 [Comp. St. § 224]). ̧

18 R. S. § 1829 (Comp. St. § 3341).

19 Act June 23, 1906, c. 3523 (34 Stat. 454 [Comp. St. § 225]).

20 Act March 4, 1915, c. 141 (38 Stat. 1007), superseding Act March 3, 1857, c. 108 (11 Stat. 228); Act July 23, 1866, c. 208 (14 Stat. 206); Act July 29, 1868, c. 176 (15 Stat. 96). 21 Act June 25, 1910, c. 384, § 9 (36 St. 773 [Comp. St. § 231]).

22 Act March 4, 1913 (37 Stat. 913 [Comp. St. § 7686]).

23 See 32 Op. Atty. Gen. 309; Act Feb. 14, 1917, c. 64 (39 Stat. 919 [Comp. St. § 10200a]); U. S. v. Stickrath (D. C.) 242 F. 151; U. S. v. French (D. C.) 243 F. 785; Clark v. U. S., 250 F. 449, 162 C. C. A. 519; U. S. v. Stobo (D. C.) 251 F. 689; U. S. v. Jasick (D. C.) 252 F. 931; U. S. v. Metzdorf (D. C.) 252 F. 933; Ragansky v. U. S., 253 F. 643, 165 C. C. A. 269; Pierre v. U. S. (C. C. A.) 275 F. 352.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »