The Presidency (The Executive Branch) – Part 1
January 20 , 2014
Once a bill becomes the law, it is the president’s job to execute it. Once it reaches the
executive, it is given to a specific bureaucracy to overlook.
The Seal of the President
• Based off the great seal of the U.S.
• Arrows and olive branches in talons. The eagle faces the olive branch – signifies
promoting peace, but if need be, they WILL use the 13 arrows (original 13
• Latin = “out of many, one”
• Stars represent all of the states.
• Truman issued an executive order to make this the executive seal of the President,
changed only twice, when Alaska and Hawaii were made states.
• Constitutional Convention (1787)
• Individual or committee?
o Problem with individual = too much power; would invite “the fetus of a
monarchy”. This was the sentiment of both the Virginia and New Jersey
Plans. Both wanted a Committee. That and that the President would be
elected by Congress – not the people. BUT James Madison and his
federalist allies (pushing for strong centralized government) feared that
the Connecticut Compromise would open the door to the same petty
politics seen in the Articles of Confederation (E.g. legislators in the states
were dominated by favoritism – forgiving debts and excusing criminals
that they knew). This was too much power in the state. The federalists
believed that if the Senate was elected by the Legislature AND congress
choosing the president, there would be too much power for the Senators
and state. They therefore decided on making it an individual.
• “The fetus of monarchy”
• Virginia Plan, New Jersey Plan
o Selected by legislature
• James Madison, Federalists
• Connecticut Compromise
• Articles of Confederation
o Petty Politics
• Individual, independent of Congress, to represent the public.
• Fouryear term
o TwentySecond Amendment (1951)
• Electoral College Are You Eligible – Who can become President?
Watch: Animaniacs Presidents
• Article II Section I
o Natural born citizen.
George Romney (Mitt’s father – born in a Mormon colony in
Mexico. Made a Presidential bid in the 1960’s).
John McCain (Born in U.S.controlled Panama).
Arnold Schwarzenegger (born in Austria – many wanted to get a
Constitutional Amendment so that he could run for President).
o 35 years of age.
John F. Kennedy (43) – the youngest
Ronald Reagan (69) – the oldest
o 14 years of residence.
• Each presidency is numbered (like Congress) – current president is 44. There
have only been 43 presidents – President Grovert Cleveland was elected, served
his term, lost the next election, and won years later.
The Fluid Branch
• Most transformed branch.
• Wishywashy delegates.
o King George
o Strong national leader.
• General framework
• Left many details to be defined by the presidents themselves.
o Fluidity of the presidency is a direct consequence of the constitution.
Many have tried to shape their presidency for personal gain over the
• Poorly defines presidency.
• Four sections
• Section I
• Section IV
o Impeachment (most “high crimes” are actually not defined)
• Sections II & III
o The meat
o Presidential power
Perks of Being President • $400 000/year
• $169 000 for expenses
• Free services (residence at the White House
• Cadillac One (“The Beast) – driven by secret service. The tires can run flat (so
they can be shot out and still function).
o Contains stash of presidents blood type in case a transfusion on the
o Can withstand biochemical attack
o Night vision function – driver can navigate in darkness.
o Only driver’s window roles down.
o Handles are loops designed to secret service agents to hold on to (run
o Passenger door has armourment (machine gun, etc.).
o Bulletproof windows.
o Can withstand a bomb being set off underneath it.
o 44hour air supply.
• Marine One
o Run by Navy
o Meant for internal travel (when plane isn’t required).
• Air Force One
o 2 planes – identical.
o Converted 747
o Can refuel in air.
o Has its own retracting staircase in the front and back.
o Has a retrofrigid baggage device.
o Has a full surgical bay on it.
o Inhouse doctor and full pharmacy on board.
o Full kitchen staff.
o Sealed and protected from electromagnetic pulses.
o Flares to ward off heatseeking missiles.
o 85 onboard telephones.
o 19 televisions.
o 238 miles of wiring.
o Shielding strong enough to protect against nuclear blasts.
Those specifically outlined.
• Commander in chief of the army, navy, and state militias (SII)
• Grant pardons and reprieves for offences against the US.
• Make treaties (with the approval of twothirds of the Senate), appoint
ambassadors (with the advice and consent of the Senate), and select Supreme
Court justices and other officers (again, the Senate approval) (SII).
• To solicit the opinions of his officers (the cabinet members) (SII). • Requires the president to report on the state of the Union (SIII).
• “He shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
• Congress makes laws, the president executes.
• Power to identify or develop the means…to carry out decisions.
• Because laws are enacted by congress, congress then gives it to the executive to
execute, and are also giving the president the power to ensure that it is
PROPERLY executed. However, he/she should not step above or beyond what is
• “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States.”
• War, national emergency (e.g. Lincoln).
o Lincoln issues a series of execu