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Laws and International Laws

Discuss the Constitutional Basis of Presidential Power including the Office’s Expressed and Implied Power.

The presidential power consists of three types of powers, namely, constitutional, delegated, and inherent powers. Constitutional powers are those which are allowed to be executed by the law or constitution. The delegated powers are granted by the Congress. According to the constitution, the president “shall take care that the laws be executed faithfully.” The inherent powers are those specified under the control of the president as the chief of the executive branch of the government and are not stated by the Constitution explicitly.

The two powers, constitutional and delegate, fall under the ambit of expressed powers since they are explicitly stated for the president to follow without any room for the interpretation of the law. However, inherent law can be interpreted by the presidents. This capacity to interpret the law has provided great and, to some extent, different powers depending on the way of interpretation.

The following are some powers that can be categorized as expressed powers:

  • Executive powers: The executive powers of the president are expansive. He/she manages the federal government, primarily the national affairs. The executive orders, the rules and the regulations to be followed, fall under the control of the president too. Similarly, the appointment of the head of the executive departments and other important officials is also done by the president. These powers may widen to greater extents in the case of a national emergency.
  • Legislative powers: The president has the power to veto any bill passed by Congress. Thus, he/she has an important role in the formulation of public policy.
  • Military powers: The president is the commander-in-chief and holds the power to direct the troops and invest in the military strategic planning, however, the president does not hold the power to declare a war.
  • Diplomatic powers: The president has a major role in diplomatic affairs with other countries. The ambassadors and ministers posted in foreign countries, with the confirmation from the Senate, are appointed by the president. These officials report to the secretary of the state, who manages the communication between the governments.
  • Judicial powers: The president can nominate or appoint the judges to the Supreme Court, subjected to the affirmation from the Senate.

The following are some powers that can be categorized as inherent powers:

  • Emergency Powers: In cases of emergency, such as wars, natural disasters, or financial decline, the president can take measures that he would not be allowed to take had the situation been normal. One of these emergency powers can be the suspension of certain rights or laws in order to maintain order in the state.
  • Executive Orders: These are the orders taken according to the legislative power and under certain circumstances such as over issues within executive branch. These orders can be used to enforce constitution, statutes, law and to establish new rules. This is the indication of how stringently or leniently the federal law is being enforced by the president.

In the case of inherent powers, there is always a chance of abuse of power because these orders, even though executed under certain circumstances, are at the discretion of the president. These powers are derived from the reinterpretation of the Constitution, which has been done by many modern presidencies. However, the president is subjected to the charges and impeachment if the House of Representatives thinks that the president has misused his powers. Despite the impeachment, these powers are pushing the United States to become a somewhat oppressive or authoritarian state that it was freed from earlier.

Describe any three perspective theories of presidential power: stewardship, prerogative, and literalist. Discuss an example of each type of president.

The perspective theories of presidential power are discussed below:


The stewardship theory of Presidential power states is based on Theodore Roosevelt’s idea, which states that the president can do anything in the interest of the nation unless it is forbidden by the Constitution. The notion is that since the president is responsible for the people, he/she can exercise whatever is necessary to maintain the well-being of the nation. This theory contends the assertiveness and centrality of the presidency because it is one of the most significant offices in the federal government. This execution of expansive power can be in the

President Roosevelt justified many of his actions under the stewardship theory of the presidency. For example, the order to continue the war with the Philippines by placing ruthless people in line to fight. This caused heavy causalities. However, Roosevelt thought that this was imperative for the welfare of his nation. Similarly, the addition of a corollary to the Monroe Doctrine when Roosevelt thought that Latin America’s independence was vulnerable to European attack.


The prerogative presidential view states that the president be given the power to exercise power in the interest of the nation without any prescription of law. This theory is based on the idea that law cannot provide a remedy for every unforeseen situation, and if such a situation occurs, then the person with the execution power should be given complete freedom to act on behalf of his people for their well-being. An example of enforcement of this particular type of presidential power is when Abraham Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation,” where all the slaves were ordered to be set free from subjection. Despite the violation of the law, Lincoln took the property of the slave owners, the slaves, without any legal authorization. Similarly, during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln asserted the Commander-in-Chief Clause and Take-Care Clause to create unlimited war power for the president.

Another example is that of President George W. Bush, who changed the intent of the laws given by Congress by reinterpreting them. Bush spied on the citizens of America without any warrant by bypassing the Foreign Surveillance Act.


This theory, put forward by William Howard Taft, refers to the view that the president’s powers are confined to powers specified by the law. The foundation of this theory stems from the idea that no power exists if there is no constitution or law regarding it. Moreover, it is unsafe to allow limitless power to the president despite the fact that the president is chosen by the people. Execution of immeasurable powers can cause infringement of private rights. This restrictive view was observed during the presidency of Taft. He never vetoed any legislature passed by Congress unless it was clearly against the Constitution of the United States of America.

Most of the presidents have employed the prerogative and stewardship perspective of the presidency because it gives their time in the office a unique essence that is distinct from the perspective of that president. As mentioned above, the presidents are not given all the power, even in the case of an emergency or reinterpretation of the law. They can be impeached by the people of the United States of America, the Supreme Court, or Congress if they are found to be doing something that is unacceptable. Thus, a mechanism of regulation ingrained in the system of government is always operational, which is safeguarding the well-being of the citizens of the states.



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