The President and “His Powers”

I was reading a piece in McClatchey DC the other day describing Obama about “climate change” (his characterization of everyone who doesn’t believe the global warming BS as a “fringe element” is typical climate hoax stuff), and I had to stop when I saw this quote from the chief egomaniac:Obama-finger-234x300

“What’s the point of public office if you’re not going to use your power to help solve problems?”

I’m sure Obama thinks he’s got all kinds of powers, and he can just use his “pen and phone” to bypass Congress and do whatever the hell he pleases to forward his plan for reducing America to the mediocrity that progressive liberals think it deserves.

It got me to thinking about what powers, exactly, are prescribed to the Executive Branch by our Constitution. When the Founders set up our representative form of government, they didn’t envision citizens getting elected to office so they could assume “powers” over the rest of us. Rather, our elected officials were to be citizen legislators (not full-time bureaucrats), and special care was taken to ensure that we didn’t end up with an imperial president.

So, what powers are given to the holder of the Executive office? Surely, there must be a bunch of them, right? Presidents frequently issue “executive orders” that direct all kinds of things to happen. The current holder of the office seems to think this is how he can effect his agenda, since the House of Representatives is held by the obstinate party of “no” (Republicans).

Here are the powers assigned to the Executive Branch in Article 2 of the Constitution:

  1.  He shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
  2. 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.
  3. The President shall have 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.

That’s it. It’s a pretty short list. So how is it that presidents are able to issue anywhere from Obama’s 109 to Franklin Roosevelt’s 3,522 Executive Orders? There is no specific provision in Article II for such a thing. However, Congresses over the years have given discretion to the President to issue orders that have the force of law. If this is the case, why can’t Congress remove that authority, or nullify certain orders from the Office of the President? I don’t know the answer to that – I’ll have to do some more research.

Do you know? Has Congress or the Courts ever nullified an Executive Order? Point me to information in the comments.



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