Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lecture Notes from Prof. Nalder 10/1/2009: Formal Executive Powers

Formal Powers of the Executive (President)
  • Pocket veto: 10 day period falls when Congress is out of session and he doesn't sign the bill
  • Veto: When he doesn't sign the bill. Can be overturned by a supermajority in both houses

Appointment Power

  • Cabinet: Can hire/fire at will. Senate confirms.
  • Heads of Agencies and Departments: Can hire/fire at will.
  • Federal Courts: When there are vacancies, President appoints people to federal bench for life/good behavior. Majority approval of Senate required.

Executive Orders

  • Force of law unless contradictory to the Constitution
  • For emergencies because: Congress isn't always in session and doesn't always act fast enough
  • Can be overturned/ignored by new President
  • Can be overturned by courts
  • Examples: Emancipation Procl.

Power through regulation

  • Can order Executive Branch agencies to institute certain regulations
  • Regulations fill in places where laws are silent: Law says "Make clean air." EPA writes and enforces the regulations to do so.
  • Details of laws

Signing Statements

  • Most Presidentes simply sign and write, "Nice bill, good for the country."
  • President Bush started signing bills and in his signing statements writing, "I know Congress passed this, but I am not going to enforce the following sections...."
  • Poses an interesting Constitutional question because it is like a line-item veto/like creating law excet there is no initiative power (cannot initiate creation of laws).
  • New President can overturn prior signing messages

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