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Flashcards in Executive Powers Deck (27)
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1

What are the main powers of the President?

  1. Enforcement of laws;
  2. Commander in chief;
  3. Appointment powers; 
  4. Removal powers; 
  5. Pardon power; and 
  6. Veto powers

Article II, Section 1

2

What are the President's appointment powers?

Can appoint high-level officers with advice and consent of the Senate 

Appointments Clause: Article II, Section 2, Clause 2

3

What are inferior officers and how can they be appointed?

Officers whose work is supervised by superiors that were appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate (i.e. through standard appointment process). 

Congress can delegate power to appoint inferior officers to:

  1. The President (can appoint without approval of Senate); 
  2. The courts; or 
  3. Heads of executive departments

 

4

Can Congress directly appoint federal executive officers?

No, cannot appoint officers of the United States (i.e. officers with enforcement or administrative powers)

5

Can Congress remove an executive branch official?

Yes, but only by impeachment.

6

What are the President's removal powers?

Can remove high-level executive appointees without cause 

⚠️ Exception: must show cause to remove: 

  1. Officer performing a judicial or quasi-judicial role; or 
  2. Officer appointed for a statutorily specified duration 

 

7

Can Congress limit the President's removal power?

Yes, can statutorily limit removal to only upon a showing of good cause for officers appointed for a specific duration of time (e.g. Special Prosecutor)

 

8

How can federal judges be removed?

Only by impeachment. Cannot be "during good behavior"  (Article III, Section 1)

9

What are the President's veto powers?

Power to veto any law passed by both houses within 10 days of receiving it (if no veto, bill automatically becomes law)

Article I, Section 7

10
Define

pocket veto 

If the president fails to act during the veto period and Congress is not in session, the bill will be automatically vetoed.

If Congress is in session, the bill will become law.

 

11
Define

line item veto 

Vetoing specific lines or parts of a bill without vetoing the whole. Unconstitutional.

12

Can Congress override a Presidential veto?

Yes, with a 2/3 majority vote in House and the Senate

13

What are the President's pardon powers?

  • Power to pardon or commute sentences for criminal, federal crimes 
  • Cannot pardon those who have been convicted and impeached 

Article II, Section 2

14

Can Congress limit the President's pardon powers?

No

15
Define

executive privilege 

Qualified privilege that protects the President from having to disclose confidential communications related to his/her Presidential duties (e.g. national security, military or diplomatic secrets)

16

When can executive privilege be overruled? 

By a showing of compelling government interest.

For example, in U.S. v. Nixon, privilege overruled because of the compelling interest in disclosure of Presidential communications for criminal trial.

17

What type of conduct is covered by executive immunity?

Conduct during office for official duties 

⚠️ No immunity for actions before President took office or those unrelated to official duties

18

What is the President's treaty power? 

Power to make treaties with foreign governments, must be ratified by 2/3 of the Senate 

19

If a treaty conflicts with federal law, which will take priority?

Whichever was signed most recently

20

If a treaty conflicts with a state law, which one has priority?

Treaty

21

If a treaty conflicts with the Constitution, which one prevails? 

Constitution

22
Define

executive agreement

Agreement made with a foreign nation that does not require 2/3 Senate approval

23

If an executive agreement conflicts with a federal statute or treaty, which one has priority?

federal statute or treaty

24

If an executive agreement conflicts with a state law, which one has priority?

executive agreement

25

What is the President's authority as Commander in Chief

  • Can only take military action to defend a sudden, hostile attack 
  • Cannot declare war (only Congress)

⚠️ The extent of the President's military authority is much contested and unclear. For more info, see Commander in Chief Powers

26

For what reasons can the President, Vice President, or other federal officers be impeached

For treason, bribery, and other "high crimes and misdemeanors" 

Article II, Section 4

27

What is the impeachment process?

Step 1: House of Representatives votes to impeach (majority vote); then

Step 2: Senate conducts a trial and votes to convict and remove from office (2/3 vote)