THE POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE USA

THE POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE USA

The Truth About THE POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF USA Is About To Be Revealed
1.

Every nation needs a leader. A leader powerful enough to prove successful as a politician before he can attain his highest elective office. The President of the USA is said to be the most powerful as well as controversial position in the World, heading the most powerful democratic office. He heads a large Executive organisation, including the Executive Departments, each under a Cabinet member, and also many independent agencies. The US President’s powers are constantly misunderstood and incorrectly discussed by the people and the media. The US President is not an absolute ruler, nor is he a leader that can do things without repercussions or investigation by others. Like any other President, the President of the US is elected by the people and has been vested with some powers and responsibilities to rule and control a government system. Their power is very great, though not unconditional. The United States Constitution makes the President be many things, but a king or a dictator, he certainly is not. The President of the United States is both more or less than a king; he is, also, both more and less than a prime minister. The more carefully his office is studied, the more does its unique character appear? We are, indeed, entitled to criticize the results of its operation; and, particularly, we can compare those results with the consequences which follow from the operation of other systems.[1]

In recent times, the United States is considered the most powerful nation in the world. Yet this may not automatically make the President of the United States the most powerful leader of the world. However, some scholars believe so. This paper, therefore, mainly discuss how powerful the President of the United States is. This blog aims to attempt to examine the powers and functions of the President of the United States. In the first part of this blog, an introduction to the US Presidency is given. And in the second part, a brief discussion is made about the different sources of the powers and functions of the President. Then the different function and powers of the US President are explained with critical examination. Then in the latter part, a comparative analysis has been made between the US President with that of the Indian President and the UK President. The limitation on the powers of the President is also discussed through the work of this paper where it seems necessary to mention it. This blog concludes with the further scope of research on the given topic.

1. THE US PRESIDENCY:

As David McCullough said- ‘at the heart of the history, and a great part of the pull of the history is the mystery of human nature. Human nature- individual personality, makeup, call it what you will- has to be reckoned as a prime force in any consideration of the presidency and its power.[2]The use of power to any extend defines a president’s legacy and his place in history. The story of the power of the presidency begins with the Constitutional Convention of 1787.[3]The Constitutional Convention was conducted in the summer of 1787 behind closed doors-no cameras, no reporters, and no observers. The fifty-five delegates were sworn to secrecy.[4]There was no national executive authority under the Articles and the word Presidency was not incorporated in the Constitution. However, it was the idea of the founding father of the Constitution, men like James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, Edmund Randolph, Roger Sherman, and George Washington, who were considered as the most illustrious political thinkers and practitioners of public affairs of the era,[5] thought that an independent executive was essential to the success of a new Constitution and therefore named the executive head as the President, who heads the political executive role and functions. In 1788, the United States Constitution was ratified by nine out of the thirteen states and becomes the law of the land. On 1789 4th of February, George Washington won the first Presidential election.

The Constitution won ratification in part by being ambiguous. Article II of the Constitution provides that “the executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”[6] It provides for an executive who would enforce the laws that are made by Congress and interpreted by the Supreme Court. Article I provides that “all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives..”[7]The actual job description for the presidency, as found in the Constitution, is rather vague. It states that the President will make sure “that the laws be faithfully executed.”[8] The Constitution also states that the President is the Commander-in-chief of the United States armed forces, and has the authority to grant pardons, make treaties, veto bills, and appoint government officials. Yet, many of these powers are subject to the approval of Congress.[9]The authority to declare war lies with the legislative branch. Treaties made by the President and many official appointments issued by the President are subject to the approval of Congress. Also, the President’s veto of the bill can be overridden with a two-thirds vote from Congress.[10]The President is both the head of state and head of government of the United States of America and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.[11] No one can examine the character of the American Presidency without being impressed by its many-sidedness. The range of the President’s function is enormous. He is the ceremonial head of the state. He is a vital source of legislative suggestion. He is the authoritative exponent of the nation’s foreign policy.[12]

2. SOURCES OF THE PRESIDENTIAL POWERS

The power of the President comes from different sources; which can be divided into primary sources and secondary sources. The primary source of presidential power comes from the Constitution as an“expressed powers”. Besides that, the President have various “inherent powers”, which are powers that are not expressly granted by the Constitution but are inferred. Other sources are enumerated under the secondary sources. Congress grants Presidents additional powers through congressional action known as statutory powers. Additional Presidential powers have emerged over time. These newer authorities reflect both changes in the institution of the Presidency and shifts in popular views on the appropriate role of government and the president. These powers include emergency powers granted in Supreme Court decisions and powers that, though not formalized, are given to presidents by the public through election mandates, presidential popularity, or unified public opinion on a particular issue or course of action.[13] The powers of the President comes from different sources, such as; Constitutional authority, Judicial decisions, Congressional statutes, Public opinion and Mass media. The varied sources have been discussed under the following heads:

CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY:

The Constitution is the primary source of the President Powers. These powers are the expressed power that the President inherit as an executive head of the state, which is enumerated in the Constitution in Article II, Sections 2 and 3. The expressed powers outlined in the Constitution provide a framework for presidential responsibilities and also shape how presidents themselves develop their authority. The Constitution gives President the right to make certain decisions entirely on his own, in the field of Foreign affairs and defence, the appointment of Cabinet Officials and Judges of the Supreme Court, treaty-making, pardoning crime, etc. In addition to the “expressed powers,” the President has got the power to make a certain decision under the “implied powers” of the Constitution. The implied power of the President includes the additional power to direct the work of the Cabinet Officials and to dismiss an official, without the consent of the Senate. The implied power was first exercised by President Andrew Jackson for which he was impeached by Congress. Though he was he was saved from conviction, and the power to fire a Cabinet official without the consent of the Senate, therefore, judicially sustained.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS:

The judicial power of the U.S. vests in the Supreme Court and the Courts inferior to it.[14] The courts enforce the Bill of Rights.[15] The Supreme Court is the umpire in the federal polity.[16] From time to time the decisions of the court remind the power of the President and proved its sustainability. In 1936, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged the existence of presidential emergency powers in the United States vs. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. In this case, the U.S. government charged the Curtiss-Wright Corporation with conspiring to sell fifteen machine guns to Bolivia, in violation of a joint resolution of Congress and a presidential proclamation. Without congressional approval, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had ordered an embargo on the machine gun shipment. The Court supported Roosevelt’s order, ruling that the president’s powers, particularly in foreign affairs, are not limited to those powers expressly stated in the Constitution. The justices also stated that the federal government is the primary actor in foreign affairs and that the president in particular has inherent powers related to his constitutional duties in foreign relations.[17]

CONGRESSIONAL STATUTES:

Congress passes legislation from time to time that delegates to President the right to make certain decisions without further legislation, particularly during the emergency like economic and wartime crises. In 1941, Congress gave to the President, by the terms of the so-called Lend-Lease Act,[18] a wide range of executive discretion in the matter of supplying ships, munitions etc., to the countries fighting against German aggression; during the Nixon administration Congress passed legislation empowering the President to impose wage and price controls whenever the economic situation warranted it and in 1971 President Nixon used the powers to impose wage and price control.[19] Thus, through delegation of legislative powers congress has augmented Presidential powers. The Supreme Court did not expressly consider the constitutionality and scope of executive privilege until in 1974 in the landmark case of the United States vs. Nixon[20]the Supreme Court recognizes executive privilege as an inherent Presidential power.[21]

PUBLIC OPINION:

According to Sir Harold J. Laski, “The real source of Presidential power lies, ultimately, in the appeal to public opinion”.[22]The President is not powerless. He can appeal to the people over the heads of the legislatures and build up constituency pressures in support of his policy. He can single out chairmen of various committees and other leading figures for attention, and appeal to them for support. But he can never force an issue; he can only persuade. It is another matter that the system endows him with good many ‘weapons of persuasion.[23] In the decision-making process as well as in the legislative process, the President must work to persuade. If Congress does not support the President’s programme, he may talk to the public to win the support of the people- particularly the “attentive public’- for his legislative programme. Andrew Jackson was the first President to appeal to the people for support of his policies over the head of the Congress.

MASS MEDIA:

Much of the political information comes from the mass media: newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet. The mass media is the valuable means through which the government informs, explains, and tries to win support for its programs and policies. This is one of the qualities that distinguish the modern Presidency from the traditional office of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in that modern Presidents- that is, every President since Theodore Roosevelt- have been the figures most in the spotlight on the political stage, due to the contribution of mass media.[24] The media is the vehicle of building support for the President and his programmes. It allows the President to head off the political stages and make direct appeals to millions of citizens and shape public opinion.

3. POWERS AND THE FUNCTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT

As discussed in the previous chapter, the President have a powerful position derived from varied sources, which makes him the most powerful head of the State. The President of the United States occupies a unique constitutional and political position which lets him play many different roles. The President has got some unique features. He is considered the real executive head of the government. The President is both the head of state and head of government of the United States of America and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.[25]The President is elected for 4 years by the people. Any natural-born American citizen at least thirty-five years and fourteen years resident within the United States may stand for election.[26]President Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. He is, however, only the 43rd person ever to serve as President; President Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms and thus is recognized as both the 22nd and the 24th President. Today, the President is limited to two four-year terms, but until the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1951, a President could serve an unlimited number of terms. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected President four times, serving from 1932 until he died in 1945; he is the only President ever to have served more than two terms.[27]However, with great powers come great responsibilities. Among the several responsibilities of the President is the constitutional requirement to “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.”[28]The powers and functions of the President are discussed in details in the following heads:

I. EXECUTIVE POWERS AND FUNCTIONS:

The president is the chief administrator of the nation and is ultimately responsible for all the programs in the executive branch. He has the duty for seeing that all laws are faithfully executed. Article II of the Constitution gives the President two – or, controversially, three-broad powers, and series of relatively narrow ones. The first broad power is that the President is to be the Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces.[29] Traditionally this has been understood to give the president power to make not merely tactical choices about the conduct of military operations but also the primary decisions about the deployment of US military force, subject to check by Congress, largely through the power of Congress to provide or refuse to provide funds for the president’s initiatives.[30] President George W. Bush made extremely expansive claims about the scope of his power as Commander-in-Chief in connection with the declaration of war on terror after the 9/11 terror attack. Besides that he got the broad power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all 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. The President shall have the power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.[31]The president selects many people to serve the government in a wide range of offices: most important among them are ambassadors, members of the Supreme Court and the federal courts, and cabinet secretaries. More than 2,000 of these positions require confirmation (approval) by the Senate under the “advice and consent” provision of the Constitution. Confirmation hearings can become controversial, as did the hearing for Clarence Thomas, President George H. W. Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Sometimes appointments to ambassadorships are given as a reward for faithful service to the president’s political party or significant campaign contributions. Such appointments are considered patronage.[32] Thus, the constitution itself provides that the President is the executive head as well as the enforcement head of the implementation of the laws. The President can conduct Foreign affairs and have Treaty making powers. Article II of the Constitution requires President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”. It is less clear what constitutes the laws be faithfully to this charge when the laws themselves are vaguely drafted or even unconstitutional. Thus, the President has sought to increase their influence over policy implementation by mechanisms ranging from control over agency rulemaking to executive command.[33] A key instrument of Presidential power is the executive order. Though defined nowhere in the Constitution, executive orders in various forms- including proclamations, national security directives, Presidential decision memoranda and the like- are generally construed as Presidential directives intended to carry out other executive powers.[34]The President has the power either to sign the legislation into law or to veto bills enacted by Congress, although Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses. The Executive Branch conducts diplomacy with other nations, and the President has the power to negotiate and sign treaties, which also must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate.[35]

II. LEGISLATIVE POWERS AND FUNCTIONS:

The Legislature of the United States is the Congress. The Legislature is a bicameral body consist of two houses known as the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is the Upper House of American Congress representing the state. Each house elects two senators, 50 states and 100 members in the Constituencies. Senate members are directly elected by the people. Each member has six years of the term. One-third of the members of the senate retire every two years. A president does not simply propose legislation. Before the enactment of a law, a bill should be passed to Congress. The first step of the legislative process is the introduction of the bill to Congress. The bill must pass both the houses of Congress before it goes to the President for consideration. When receiving a bill from Congress, the President has several options. If the President agrees substantially with the bill, he or she may sign it into law, and the bill is then printed in the Statutes at Large. If the President believes the law to be bad policy, he may veto it and send it back to Congress. Congress may override the veto with a two-thirds vote of each chamber, at which point the bill becomes law and is printed.[36] He has the power to assent to a bill as well as the power to reject the bill. He has the veto power to guide and influence legislation. The president by refusing to sign a bill passed against his wishes, or by threatening to use it, can dominate the legislative process. However, the President’s veto power can be overridden by two-thirds of Congress. The president meets with Congressional leaders to press for passage of bills and calls individual members of Congress to ask for their vote. The Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to enact legislation and declare war, the right to confirm or reject many Presidential appointments, and substantial investigative powers.[37] Although the Constitution has vested legislative powers in Congress, it has given some power to the President to play a vital role in law-making. The President shall from time to time recommend to Congress in the legislative process. He is authorised to summon extraordinary sessions of one or both House of the Congress.

III. JUDICIAL POWERS AND FUNCTIONS:

Where the Executive and Legislative branches are elected by the people, members of the Judicial Branch are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.[38] Article III of the United States guarantees that- “the judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.”[39]As mentioned in Article II, the President has pardon power. Power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States.[40]This is a very broad power and it includes the ability to reduce as well as pardon the sentence for all accused or convicted of federal crimes. While discussing the pardon power, three major grounds of pardoning must be addressed. That is the forms of the crime, the type and the conditions for pardon.[41] The President can issue a pardon for all crimes against the United States, whether or not there has been a conviction. The Supreme Court declared more than a century ago that the pardon power “extends to every offence known to the law, and maybe exercise at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgement.”[42] The pardon powers extend to all criminal offences but do not include the ability to relieve an individual of civil liability. The classic form of pardon is to excuse the individual for the criminal acts. It means that ‘in the eye of the law the offender is as innocent as if he had never committed the offence.”[43] The President can take the form of reducing the sentence, but not excusing the crime. The Supreme Court made it clear that the President’s pardon power can be granted on the subject to conditions. The President has the authority to reduce a person’s sentence except that he cannot award any compensation to a person.

IV. EMERGENCY POWERS AND FUNCTIONS:

During a time of crisis or when an emergency is declared, the President has at hand a broad array of potential powers. He may exercise these powers if the nation is threatened by crisis, exigency, or emergency circumstances. Such powers may be stated explicitly or implied by the Constitution, assumed by the Chief Executive to be permissible constitutionally, or inferred from or specified by statute. The emergency powers can be discussed in the following different sub-heads:

· Foreign Affairs:

The President directs America’s foreign relations as he is the foreign policy-maker of the nation. It is the President who recognises foreign governments, who directs US policy in the United States. He receives ambassadors and appoints American ambassadors with the advice and consent of the Senate. In acting as the Chief Diplomat and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, he can make policy with far-reaching consequences. A vital role of the foreign policies involves the use of military force and the President as Commander-in-Chief has the primary authority to employ American military power.

· Economic Powers:

President also wields emergency powers during periods of serious economic instability. During such times, presidential power appears to enumerate exclusively from statutes, although presidents have shown ingenuity in stretching the boundaries of that authority.[44]During the time of economic crisis, the president may issue orders as he may deem appropriate to stabilize prices, rents, wages, and salaries. Economic measures may also be taken during a time of war or national emergency.

· War Powers:

The president has the power to initiate hostilities without consulting Congress. The United States has entered into five declared wars, one civil war, and numerous undeclared hostilities in its history. In each instance, Presidents have asserted claims to some type of emergency powers to deal with the threat.[45] Article I of the Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war and the authority to raise and support the army and the navy. The American president is the Commander-in-chief can lead troops during war times, and he can provide for arms and emulations. Though the framers of the Constitution intended the presidential war powers to be little more than the power to defend against imminent invasion when Congress was not in session, the presidents since Abraham Lincoln have exercised more than a defensive war-making power.

· Treaty Making Powers:

Article II of the Constitution states that the President “shall have power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.”[46]The President have treaty-making powers, he has the authority to negotiate treaties with other nations. However, these formal international agreements do not go into effect, until ratified by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. Only the President or his representatives can make treaties or other international agreements. The President can avoid the Constitutional obligation by negotiating ‘executive agreements’ between the United States and another nation. Many of these agreements do not require Senatorial approval. Article VI of the Constitution states that the “Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”[47]

4. COMPARATIVE PORTRAYAL

I. THE AMERICAN AND THE INDIAN PRESIDENCY:

The American Presidency is estimated to be one of the mightiest political offices in the world. But the Indian Presidency cannot be characterised as the greatest political office in the world. No such characteristics have ever been defined, yet there should be no timidity in assuming that the Indian Presidency enjoys that amount of political power which an elective head does or ought to. Both India and the United States have adopted a federal Constitution, where there is the separation of powers, and have provided for an elective President, elected by an electoral college. This is the one common fact of both the presidencies. However, the contrast extends to a far greater length.

The President of the United States is the head of a Presidential type of Government whereas, the President of Indian is the head of a State with a Parliamentary form of Government. However, the form of the Constitution in both the countries are Presidential, and there is all reason to emphasise that the parliamentary type of Government is a feature peculiar to the Indian Presidency, a feature brought about not by accident but by acceptance, and this, in itself, constitutes the greatest stamina of the Indian Presidency.[48]The term of the American President is four years, and after being elected two times he cannot function for more than two terms. Whereas, the term of the Indian President is Five years and can be re-elected many times.

The American president dominates all executive powers being the Executive head. In Indian administration the President is only a nominal executive head, the real Executive authority is held by the Prime Minister in the Parliamentary system of government and is considered as the head of the Government. The President is only a figurehead and is just the prime mover of the people’s government. He is the balance-wheel of the political and the legal sovereign. He checks and balances the excesses of the Parliament and the Council of Ministers both, and prevents either from overpowering the other. The Indian President, though not a product of Parliament, is yet an indispensable part of the Parliament, which concerning the Congress the American President is not.[49]

The American president nominates the members of the Cabinet, and they are called secretaries and not Ministers. He is not bound to follow the advice of the Cabinet. The President is the head and the Secretaries are only his subordinates. The Indian President appoints the Prime Minister, leaders of the majority. He can appoint other ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister. On appointing the Ministers he has no choice for discretion. He is bound to follow the advice of the Cabinet. This is what can be considered as the actual drawback of the Indian President which debarred him to be a powerful head like the United States President.

In case of assenting on passing the bill, the American President has got more power with the additional assistance of the veto power. The Indian President can avail of three definite choices when a bill is passed to him for consideration after traversing all its legislative course. He can declare his assent or he can declare that he withholds his assent therefrom and can do so straightway, and he can return the Bill for reconsideration of the House. Whereas, the American President avails many choices. He can either approve the bill or return it with objection. The Indian President does not have any veto powers like that of the American President.

The president of India can promulgate Ordinances, to be as effective as law, during the recess of Parliament. He can at times dissolve the House of the People, and the Parliament cannot meet unless summoned by him. He can refer to any matter of public importance for the opinion of the Supreme Court. These powers and functions are unknown to the American Presidency.[50] The doctrine of Separation of Powers strictly applies in the American Governmental system. The President is not a member of the Legislature he just represents Presidential Democracy. The American President has the power of persuasion, which is the power lacking in the Indian President.

The Indian president can declare a financial emergency and can complete observance of such canons of financial proprietary as he may deem proper. He can proclaim national emergency on causes both of external aggression and armed rebellion. The American President if requested by any particular state or states can intervene in a domestic matter where there is a matter of violence. The American President being the Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s and the armed forces can conduct military operations band also the primary decisions about the deployment of US military force and can provide arms and funds for arms. He has the power to make treaty and emergency power during the time of crisis. He can decide foreign policy and many more powers which is far beyond the powers provided by the Constitution. This is why the American President is said to be the most powerful position in the world.

II. THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT AND THE BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:

According to Sir Laski “there is no foreign institution which in any basic sense the American Presidency may be compared”, he further observed that the President of the United States “is both more and less than a Prime Minister”.[51]However, as the chief executive heads of the world’s two most important democracies, the American President and the British Prime Minister may be contrasted in respect of their functions and powers. The most obvious – and certainly the most visible – of the differences between the American and British political systems is that the USA is a presidential system, with the apex of power in a directly-elected President, whereas the UK is a parliamentary system, with the Prime Minister holding office and power only so long as he or she commands a majority of votes in the House of Commons.[52] The two dignitaries exercise great power and authority in the governmental systems of their own countries.

The British Prime Minister is the political head of the Government. Whereas, the American President is both the head of the State and the head of the Government. The term of office of the British Prime Minister is five years and his term depend upon the House of Commons. Whereas, the American President cannot be removed before the expiry of a period of four years unless impeached earlier by Congress. The American President is directly elected by the people and he represents the peoples and is their spokesman in their domestic and foreign affairs. While the British Prime Minister is appointed by the Monarch from the majority party in the House.

As chief executives both the President and the Prime Minister have somewhat similar responsibilities. Besides, implementing new policies the President enjoys certain advantages over the Prime Minister and vice versa. In theory, then, the American President has much more power than the British Prime Minister – he is the commander-in-chief and has the power to issue executive orders which have the full force of law. However, the constitutional system of ‘checks and balances’ seriously circumscribes the power of the US President who often finds it difficult to push legislation through Congress. By contrast, a British Prime Minister usually heads a government with a majority of seats in the House of Commons and the ability to pass almost any legislation that he wishes.[53]

The American President has greater freedom than the British Prime Minister in the choice of his Cabinet Members. The president may consult his party leaders in Congress and outside but he alone decides who are to be appointed a Cabinet minister. The Prime Minister is the leader of the Parliament and the head of the Cabinet. The House of Common follows his instructions as an assembly under his control. However, the American President lacks this legislative leadership. All the legislative power is vested in Congress. He has influence over Congress only when his party has a majority in it. As a result of the separation of the powers, the US President does not attend or address Congress except for the annual ‘State of the Union Address. Since there is no separation of powers in the UK system, the Prime Minister is a member of one of the Houses of Parliament – invariably the House of Commons – and regularly addresses the Commons, most notably once a week for Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQ). When the President addresses Congress, he is given a respectful hearing. When the Prime Minister addresses Parliament, he is barracked and interrupted and Prime Minister’s Question Time, in particular, is a gladiatorial affair.[54]

The British Prime Minister derives his powers from constitutional conventions. Whereas, the American President derives all his powers from the Constitution of the United States. The President of America is the Commander-in-Chief of the defence forces of the nation and he leads the armed force. Whereas, in the UK it is not the Prime Minister but the Monarch, who is the Commander-in-Chief. Theoretically, all powers are vested in the Monarch and the Prime Minister and his colleagues are appointed only to aid and advice the Monarch.

It is thus, reasonable to conclude that the President of the USA is both more or less than a Prime Minister.

CONCLUSION

The American President possesses enormous powers. He is, constitutionally, the head of the executive branch, and is not only the symbolic head of the nation. The Constitution provided the basis for a fairly strong national executive, but the office of the President has developed powers far beyond those envisioned by the Founding Fathers of the Constitution. It is the most powerful democratic office in the world. However, he may hold a powerful position but everything depends on the person who he is. The President will be judged through his Personality more than his position. He should be carefully able to distinguish between foreign and domestic affairs, to specify what kind of power over what kind of issues and in what circumstances, to understand the political process itself and above all, his political skills. And most importantly he should be able to persuade and gain the sentiments of the people. However great the President maybe, he has to function within certain constraints. With all the powers and function the President possessed, in one way he becomes the powerful leader and in another way he becomes the most responsible person. May the built-in checks and balance of power have curbed President’s authority, but the President remains and will remain the focal point of the political system of the United States. He is the single focus of Executive, Legislative, Economic, Political, and National security powers.

References:

[1]Laski, Harold J. The American Presidency: An Interpretation. New Delhi: Cosmo Publications, 2008.1-69.

[2]See: McCullough, David. “What is Essential Is Invisible?” Wilson, Robert A. Power and The Presidency. USA: Publicaffairs, 1999. 3-17. <https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=el44i7O9EyYC&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en&pg=GBS.PR3>. visited on 16th October 2014.

[3]The Constitutional Convention also known as the Philadelphia Convention took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to address problems in governing the United States of America, which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from Great Britain. Although the Convention was intended to revise the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset of many of its proponents, chief among them James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one. The delegates elected George Washington to preside over the Convention. The result of the Convention was the creation of the United States Constitution, placing the Convention among the most significant events in the history of the United States.

[4]PRO: David Nicholas, CON: Terri Bimes. “RESOLVED, the Framers of the Constitution would approve of the modern Presidency.” Debating the Presidency: Conflicting perspectives on the American Executive. Ed. Richard J. Ellis and Michael Nelson. 2nd. USA: CQ Press, 2010. 1-8.

[5]Jones, Charles O. The American Presidency: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. <https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=wAO3HpMiCv4C&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en&pg=GBS.PR5.w.0.0.0.3>. visited on 18th October 2014.

[6] Article 2(1) Constitution of the United States.
[7]Id. Article 1(1).
[8]Schulman, Bruce J. Student’s Guide to the Presidency. Washington DC: CQ Press, 2009. <https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=ZaN2AwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en&pg=GBS.PA1>. visited on 18th October.

[9]Id.
[10]Id.
[11]The White House President Barak Obama. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/our-government/executive-branch>. visited on 18th October 2014.

[12]Supra Note.1.
[13]Harrison, Brigid. American Democracy Now. 1st . MacGraw-Hill, 2010. <https://www.inkling.com/read/american-democracy-now-brigid-harrison-2nd/chapter-12/sources-of-presidential-power>. visited on 18th October 2014.

[14]Supra Note.6. Article 3(1).
[15]The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. A Bill of Rights, sometimes called as the Declaration of Rights or a Charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights to the citizens of a country.
[16]Noorani, A. G. The Presidential System: The Indian Debate. Sage Publications, 1989. 51-58.

[17]Supra Note.13.
[18]The Lend-Lease Act was passed on March 11, 1941. This act was the principal means for providing U.S. military aid to foreign nations during World War II. The act authorized the President to transfer arms or any other defence materials for which Congress appropriated money to “the government of any country whose defence the President deems vital to the defence of the United States.” Britain, the Soviet Union, China, Brazil, and many other countries received weapons under this law.
[19]Supra Note.13
[20]United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 705 (1974).
[21]Chemerinsky, Erwin. Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies. 4th . Wolter kluwer Law & Business, 362-366.

[22]Supra Note. 1.
[23]Supra Note.16.

[24]PRO: Matthew R. Kerbel, CON: Bartholomew H. Sparrow. “RESOLVED, The Media Are Too Hard on Presidents.” Debating The Presidency: Conflicting Perspectives on THe American Executive. Ed. Richard J. Ellis and Micheal Nelson. 2nd . Washington DC: CQ Press, 2010. 64-81.

[25]Supra Note. 11.
[26]Supra Note. 6.
[27]Supra note. 11.
[28]Id.
[29]Tushnet, Mark. Constitutional Systems of The World; The Constitution of The United States of America: A Contextual Analysis. Hart Publishing, 2009. 79-121.

[30]Id.
[31]Article 2(2) Constitution of the United States.
[32]CliffsNotes. <http://www.cliffsnotes.com/more-subjects/american-government/the-president/the-powers-of-the-president>. visited on 20th October 2014.

[33]Rudalevige, Andrew C. “Unilateral Powers of The Presidency.” The Powers of The Presidency. 4th . USA: CQ Press, 2013. <https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=cV12AwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en&pg=GBS.PA9>. visited on 20th October 2014.

[34] Id.
[35] Supra Note. 11.
[36]Id.
[37] Id.
[38]Id.
[39]Constitution of the United Sates. Article 3(1).
[40]Id. Article 2(2).
[41]Supra Note. 21. 371-374.
[42]Ex parte Garland, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 333, 380 (1866). Supra Note. 21.
[43]Id.; United States v. Padelford, 76 U.S. (9. Wall.) 531 (1869). Supra Note. 21.
[44]Supra Note. 33.
[45]Id.
[46] Constitution of the United Sates. Article 2(2).
[47]Id. Article 4.
[48]Chaturvedi, Madhukar Shyam. The Indian Presidency: A Re- Appraisal. RBSA Publishers, 2002. 243-246.

[49]Id.
[50]Id.
[51]Supra Note. 1.
[52]Darlington, Roger. CONTRASTS BETWEEN THE AMERICAN AND THE BRITISH POLITICAL SYSTEMS. 2010. <http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/USvsUK.html#Introduction>. visited on 20th October 2014.

[53]Id.
[54]Id.

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