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Old Tuesday, March 21, 2006
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Ahmed Ali Shah Ahmed Ali Shah is offline
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Default Chapter#1.3












The President of USA has been vested with executive powers by the constitution and hence is the chief executive of the entire country. His powers are so enormous, wide and overwhelming that he is referred to as the foremost ruler of the world.

The President of USA is supreme in executive sphere and is master of his cabinet, as he chooses them as personal team advisors. He is not bound to the cabinet’s decisions, but rather cabinet has to follow his instructions, otherwise they are bound to quit the cabinet.

The US president is elected by the people and thus enjoys greater measures of popular support. Thus the American constitution has made the President the real head of the State.


The constitution provides that the Presidential candidate must be;

1. A natural born Citizen of United States
2. Must not be less than 35 years of age
3. Must have resided not less than 14 years in the country

The constitution does not bar a woman, a Negro or a person of any other race or religion to be elected as the President. However no woman or Negro has ever been elected as President. On the religious basis no non-Christian has ever won the Presidency. USA is predominantly a protestant country and no Catholic person has ever been elected as the President, except for J.F. Kennedy.


The constitution provides for indirect elections of the American president. He is elected by an electoral college consisting of as many presidential electors as is the number of members in the “house of the congress.” This Electoral College is constituted in each state, and the method by which these electoral colleges are to be elected is to concern of the States. Initially they were elected by the State legislature but now states let the people elect the electoral colleges.

The system of elections is based on calendar. The Electoral College members are elected on Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November of every leap year. On 1st Monday of December they meet in their respective States to vote for President. The result is sealed and is sent to the Chairman of Senate by each State. On 6th January of New Year the Congress meets in its joint session to count the votes. The person securing majority of the votes would than declared the winner of the Presidential election. On 20th of January the winner is sworn in as President. In case no candidate secure majority of the total votes, the House of Representatives will than elect one person from 1st three candidates who has secured highest number of votes than the two. In such case each State also has to exercise a ‘One vote’ to elect a President. If no president is elected than after 4th March the Vice-President becomes the President.


The President is elected for the term of four (4) years. According to the 22nd amendment, ratified in 1951, he can not be elected for more than two terms.

Initially there was no restriction of number of terms of elections. In fact President Roosevelt was elected for the 3rd and 4th term in a row.


The Article-II, section-1, Clause-5 of the Constitution provides that if the President’s office falls vacant due to his death, resignation, impeachment or inability to discharge the duties, the vice-President succeeds to his office for the remaining period of his term. If both President and Vice-President are unable to perform their duties they would be succeeded by Speaker of the “House of Representatives”, Presidents Pro-Tempore of Senate, Secretary of State and so on.


The United States President can not be removed directly by the Congress as he is not accountable to it. The only method of removing the US President is by “Impeachment.” The method of Presidential impeachment requires the House of Representative to adopt a resolution called “article of impeachment” charging the President with certain high crimes and directs the prosecution before the Senate; which acts as judicial tribunal for impeachment and is presided over by Chief Justice. The impeachment is than put to vote in senate and two-third (about 67%) majority is required to convict the President.

• In 1868 President Johnson was a subject to impeachment but he could not be convicted due to lack of required majority

• In 1974, President Nixon became subject to impeachment because of the Watergate Scandal. But he resigned & escaped the process.

• Again in 1998-9, President Clinton was subjected to process of impeachment, but like President Johnson he survived the process due to lack of required majority.


• The President is immune from arrest for any offence during his tenure. He is not subject to any court. He can only be punished for any offence after his removal from the President’s office.

• The President receives a salary of 400,000 a year.

• Occupies an official residence in the White House.

• During the travel to foreign countries, Air force-1 (Boeing 747) is at his disposal. Air Force-1 also performs as a flying Presidential Office. President is also provided with armored Cadillac limousine when traveling in Washington and its surroundings. When Traveling inside USA he is provided with a Helicopter.

• The President is also given a high security during and even after his Presidency.

The President enjoys various other privileges during his Presidency. He also receives some Privileges after the end of his presidency. These Privileges include;

• Free mailing
• Free office space
• The right to hold diplomatic passport
• Budgets for office help and staff assistance
• Receives pension (since 1958)


As said before the constitution declares the President as the executive of the country and vest all powers in him. During the last century the powers of US President have increased enormously. Today he has become so powerful that he has no counterpart in power in the democratic world.

The President of US enjoys following powers:

1. Executive Powers
2. Diplomatic Powers
3. Legislative Powers
4. Judicial Powers
5. Financial Powers

These powers can be explained as followed:


The American president has the following executive powers:


The President is the head of the national administration and supervisor of its operation. All executive operations take place in his name. He has power & responsibility for the enforcement of constitution, laws, treaties and judicial decisions of Supreme Court within the country or outside. He has broad powers to manage national affairs and workings of the federal government. He can issue rules, regulations and instruction called executive orders, which have binding force of law upon federal agencies but do not require congressional approval. He also exercises complete power over his cabinet and its members. All cabinet members are appointed by him and do as he directs them to do. He is mainly responsible for the administration of national government and supervision of administrative departments and agencies.


The President has power to appoint superior officials of the country such as secretaries (ministers) and other heads of executive departments and agencies, Ambassadors to foreign countries and international organizations such as UNO and NATO, judges to the Supreme Court and other high ranking federal officials. However he needs Senates confirmation over these Superior appointments. He can also appoint inferior officials for which no Senate confirmation is required. If the Senate’s majority members are from the party to which the President him self belongs, than he would have no problem in confirmation of Superior Officials he prefers.


The President is the Commander-in-Chief or the Chief of the armed forces, and is responsible for the defence of the country. He appoints all military officers, supervisors and directs the work of the army, navy and the air force. He also presents budgets for military expenditure and employees, troops for the offensive and defensive purpose. The President can declare war with the approval of Congress and also make peace without the Congressional consent.


President is responsible for the maintenance of Law and Order throughout the land. He may use his powers to maintain order, even with force, in part of the country where there is resistance. The President can take action to restore Law on Order on his own if the matter is of federal jurisdiction. If it is of State jurisdiction he can restore order on the request of the State Legislature.


Under the constitution, the President is the federal official primarily responsible for the relations of the United States with foreign nations.

• He formulates foreign policy

• Appoints all diplomatic representatives or ambassadors to foreign states with the consent of Senate. He also receives Ambassadors from foreign States.

• He has power to enter into executive agreements with foreign states. For this he does not require Senates ratifications.

• He does not have exclusive rights to declare war against any country. For this he requires Congress’s approval. However he can ceasefire or terminate hostilities in order to bring an end to war on his own, with out the consent of the Congress.

• The President has the sole authority to recognize a new State or a new government is foreign States.

The President of US is aided by his Secretary of State and the State Department in order to carry out countries foreign relations. Some times Department of Defence also plays major role in formulating President’s foreign policies.


The enlargement of diplomatic powers in the hand of President along with the role of Chief-Executive and Commander-in-Chief under his belt has placed in his hands the power to bring the country at war that congress has been forced to acknowledge. Thus the President’s prerogative of declaring war, half wars or undoing war has virtually swallowed the Congressional right to ratify the declaration of war or declare war on it self. All these powers were generated to greater extent during the World War 1 and 2 and especially during the Cold War, and even though these threats are over the Presidents of US continue to use and misuse these powers. All these powers point out that the US President is dictator of foreign relations.


Under the doctrine of “Separation of Powers” the President of the United States has limited legislative authority. That power has been enormously vested in the Congress. The President can not summon, prorogue or dissolve the Congress. He is not a member of Congress and can not initiate any bill directly. Congress can make any Law and pass any bill against his wishes. But despite this constitutional limitation, the President as the Chief formulator of the public policy has a major legislative role.


All the bills that Congress passes are subject to President’s approval. He may deal with them in following manners:

• He may assent the bill and it will became act or affective

• He may take no action on it and with in 10 days it becomes an ACT, if Congress is still in session.

• He may take no action on it and with in 10 days it is killed, if Congress is not in session. It is known as “Pocket-Veto” of the President.

• He may return the Bill with or without amendment

• He may directly VETO the bill, and unless two-third of members of each house of Congress votes to override the veto, the bill does not become law.


The President can send messages to the Congress suggesting some legislative measures; which can not easily be ignored by the Congress. In annual and special messages to Congress, the President may propose legislations he believes is necessary.


The President of US can recommend measures to the congress for the legislation. He may either send proposal for new legislation or amendment to the old legislation.


The most important occasion for Presidential messages and legislation related proposals to be put forward to Congress is the annual State of the Union Address. Here, before the joint session of the Congress, the President outlines the status of the country and his legislative proposals for upcoming year or years. In case the Congress is not in session, the President has power to call extra ordinary session of Congress to consider special matters of urgent need. However, Congress is not bound to accept the President’s recommendations at special sessions.


Like the legislative powers, the constitutional doctrine of “Separation of Power” also limits the judicial powers of the President and vests it more in the judiciary under the Supreme Court. However, the President does exercise some important and influential judicial powers. These judicial powers are as followed:

• He has power to Pardon some one who has broken the federal law – Except in case of impeachment.

• Power to Reprieve, which postpones penalty of execution.

• Power to grant Amnesty.

However; President can not grant pardon or reprieve to offenders convicted under state laws.


The President is the real financial manager of the country as he directs and controls the finances. Although the Congress has power to control the federal financing in theory, but in practice the President actually controls the finances. Under the direct supervision of the President, the national budget prepared; which placed before congress for approval. However, congress can not amend or change it. In order to practice his financial powers, President is aided by the Finance Department and his hand picked members of cabinet.

His diplomatic powers have become so enormous that not only he can veto the work of American Congress but also in some ways the work of foreign assemblies. He has free hand to do what he desires at home and abroad. With nuclear and military supremacy, the position and powers of the American president have become most perilous in the world today.

In other words we can say that the President of United States is virtually a dictator both domestically and internationally.




Initially the framers of the constitution did not include the provisions for Cabinet in the Constitution. It expected the Senate to act as a body of advisors of the President. But because of the Senate’s powers to disapprove treaties and appointments made by President, it was difficult for President to continue such relationship with it. This problem was quickly recognized by the 1st President of the United States; George Washington. Hence he began to consider the advice of his principle officers in matter of administration. The Presidents meetings with these advisors are what came to be known as “The Cabinet.” The Congress used this term more and more in congressional debates and by 1793, President George Washington had pursued Congress to recognize the Departments of Foreign Affairs (now called State Department), department of treasury and department of War. In due time congress fully recognized the President’s need to have cabinet and it included the Articles regarding the Cabinet System in the constitution.


Article-II of the constitution provides that the President can require “the opinion, in writing, of the principle officer in each of the executive department, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.” The 25th Amendment provides that the Vice-President and a majority of the principle officers of the departments can transmit a notice that the President is unfit for office.

Even though the Cabinet system is as old as the constitution, yet its nature and composition remains informal. Hence there is nothing definite about its relations with the President. The Cabinet consists of Principle advisors to the President. President holds meeting with them mostly to discuss important administrative matters. The Principle advisors are known as secretaries and President appoints them to different departments. The cabinet in the US is found under the will of President and functions entirely on Presidential initiative.

The members of the Cabinet hold two kinds of responsibilities. They administer the departments of federal government and advice President on matters relating to federal administration. All members of the Cabinet are hand picked by the President him self, but are subjected to the Senate’s approval. It is very rarely that Senate rejects President’s nominations.


There is no definite size of the President’s cabinet. President may include as many persons to it as he desires. During George Washington’s Presidency there were only four heads of departments but as the executive powers of President increased, the number of principle members also increased and thus the number of persons in Cabinet also increased. The Vice-President is also a member of the Cabinet and sits in its meetings regularly.


As said before, the nature of and composition of the Cabinet remains informal. The President may form the Cabinet in what ever method he likes and nominate what ever people he likes. However; it is become a trend to distribute seats on geographical basis. Members are chosen from Eastern, Western and Southern regions of the country. In modern era the Presidents prefer to choose people from all walks of life e.g; the recent trend is to include the businessmen, even though he may not have any political background or knowledge. But he may be useful on finance and business related matters. Many times the President nominates their personal friends; President Roosevelt included his friend W.H. Woodin, while President Kennedy inducted his own brother Robert Kennedy as Attorney General. On many times the cabinet members have been the past governors of the federating States, ex-senators, representatives and other political office holders.

Only sensible step taken in formation of the cabinet is that appointments are made on the ground of the special knowledge and experience or administrative ability of the nominee. For example; Lawyers are usually nominated for the seat of Attorney General. In order to ensure that the nominations are based on above elements, the constitution allows the Senate to either approve or disapprove of President’s choice.

Unlike in parliamentary system, the American President’s cabinet is rarely shuffled/


At the moment there are 15 departments for which the President makes choice for his Secretaries. As discussed before; the President makes his choice of nominee, while the Senate approves (or disapproves) by a simple majority. The selected secretary can not hold office in legislative or judicial branch during his membership of the cabinet.

In addition, the President or Congress can de-select a member and fire or impeach him. The cabinet member also has right to resign from the office or withdraw his nomination or refuse to take office. In such case President will have to make a fresh appointment.


Unlike the Congress, the Cabinet is not obliged to formal and regular meetings. The American cabinet is just an advisory body. President may either have some use or no use of it at all. Hence it is President’s choice to whether hold meeting with the cabinet or not. In recent years, the cabinet is usually summoned once a week and during emergencies they meet for frequently. The meetings are usually informal, there are no rules or regulations on the discussion and debate and no official records are kept, except for the rough paper that President may use to write down some points. The advices in the meetings may be accepted or rejected by the President and no voting is required.

All and all, the Cabinet is what the President wants it to be. It is the least successful federal institution and it is unlikely that the President is to make it outstanding. They simply are not a government, but just a voice of advice in it.




The US constitution provides for a Vice-President. The office of Vice President possess great potentialities but little of actual power. Because of this reason many delegates at the Philadelphia Convention felt the inclusion of provisions for the office of Vice-President unnecessary. However the provision was ratified along with the constitution. The constitution requires the Vice-President to possess the same qualifications as are prescribed for the President.

1. A natural born Citizen of United States
2. Must not be less than 35 years of age
3. Must have resided not less than 14 years in the country

The Vice-President is elected at the same time, in the same manner and for the same terms of four years the President is. The original draft of the constitution called for candidate securing second highest votes to be declared the Vice-President. However, the Provision was later changed in order to accommodate the President with supportive Vice-President.


The constitution assigns following functions to the Vice-President:


The potential function of the Vice-President, under 25th amendment, is to fill the office of the President in case the President has died, resigned, unable to perform the Presidential duty or removed through impeachment. He than assumes the Presidency and all executive powers and duties are devalued upon him. He will continue the remainder term of the Presidency till the next Presidential elections. In case both President and Vice-President have died, resigned, removed or are unable to perform the duties, the constitution calls upon the Congress to decide on who will continue the office of Presidency till the next elections are held.

Vice-President Lyndon Johnson succeeded to the office of President after the assassination/death of President John .F. Kennedy in 1963. Vice-President Gerald Ford took the Presidency after the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. During the Nixon’s Vice-Presidency he took the Presidential powers on informal basis for weeks when President D.D Eisenhower was ill. Vice-President Nixon had to perform Presidential duties three times under the same circumstances. In the same manner Vice-President George Bush took Presidential powers during the absence of President Ronald Reagan.


The Article-1, Section-3 of the Constitution calls the Vice President to be the Ex-Office Chairman of the Senate and Preside over the meetings of the Senate. He also has a vote incase of a tie. In practice the Vice-President rarely presides over day-to-day matters in Senate. In his place the Senate chooses a President Pro Tempore (or “President for a temporary period” or for a “Time.”) to preside the meetings.

Another function of Vice President, as a Chairman of Senate, is to preside over the counting and presentation of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential electoral votes by the U.S Electoral College, in presence of both the house of Congress.


The Vice-President works as a part/member of the President’s Cabinet. His association with administration enables him to be trained in administrative affairs, so that he may be able to handle the Presidential Office, if chance becomes.


Initially the constitution called for the person securing highest votes to become President, while the person securing second highest votes in Presidential run to become the Vice-President. If no one received a majority of votes, then the House of Representatives would choose between the four highest vote-getters, with each state getting one vote. In such a case, the person who received the highest number of votes but was not chosen President would become Vice President. Incase there was a tie in the 2nd phase, than the Senate would choose the Vice-President.

The framers of the constitution had however not foreseen the PARTY System. In the elections of 1796, for instance, Federalist John Adams came in first, and Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson came second. Thus, the President and Vice President were from different parties. With President from one party and Vice-President from another, there was continuous conflict amongst them. An even greater problem occurred in the election of 1800, when candidates from same party tied in the elections. The Democratic-Republicans nominated Thomas Jefferson for the Presidential seat, while they nominated Aaron Burr as well. The intentions for Aaron Burr were to get 2nd highest votes and become the Vice-President. But instead both Jefferson and Burr ended up with same number of votes; hence both were candidate for US Presidency. After 35 unsuccessful votes in the House of Representatives, Thomas Jefferson finally won on the 36th ballot and Burr became Vice President.

These constitutional conflicts led the legislature to adopt 12th Amendment in 1804. The amendment called for the electors to use separate ballots to vote for the President and Vice-President. Even though this solved the problem at hand, but it lowered the prestige of the Vice-Presidential office, as the Vice President was no longer the second choice for President.

The constitution also prohibited the electors from voting for both President and Vice Presidential candidate from the same state as themselves.

Formally, the Vice Presidential candidate is nominated by the party convention. However, it has long been the custom that the Vice Presidential candidate has been effectively named by the Presidential candidate. Often, the Presidential candidate will name a Vice Presidential candidate to bring geographic or ideological balance to the ticket or to appeal to a particular constituency.
[COLOR="DarkRed"][B]17th amendment is mockery of our constitution !. May those who have implemented it burn in hell ![/B][/COLOR]

Last edited by Ahmed Ali Shah; Tuesday, March 21, 2006 at 10:02 PM.
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