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Know The Powers of the President as Chief Executive Officer Before You Vote, Part 2

May 18, 2008
With record numbers of new registered voters, the signal is clear that they want to take part in picking our next president. With this interest is the need to know more about the powers of the presidency.

The power to make appointments is an area that has caused U.S. citizens to get involved. The Constitution gives the President the power, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the U.S. whose appointments are not otherwise provided for.

Many witnessed on television the congressional hearings on President Bush's nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court and Robert Gates as the replacement for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigning over the Iraq war.

It is not a done deal when the president appoints or nominates someone. The well known nomination that was not granted by the Senate was Robert Bork. President Reagan was warned by the Senate not to nominate him or there would be a fight. He did so anyway. The ACLU and other civil rights groups strongly opposed Borks nomination. Three months of debate ended with the Senate voting against his nomination.

Removal power is not explicit in the U.S. Constitution. However, it has been held that because the president has appointment powers, he also has removal powers of federal officers except judges. Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926). Congress does have some power to limit the president's power to remove an inferior officer.

As you can see, the president will have struggles of power between the judiciary, and the legislative branches. The genius of the framers of the Constitution created the three branches to keep all of the powers as a means of check and balances.

The president has power in the Constitution "to grant reprieves and pardons of offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment." This has led to controversy when President Clinton pardoned individuals on his way out of office. It is customary for presidents to do this before leaving office.

The president may grant a full pardon or may give a lesser sentence to the crime. The president can impose conditions to the pardon even if those conditions could not have been imposed during the original sentencing.

The president has power to pardon someone for a federal crime even if there has not yet been an indictment or trial. President Ford did this for President Nixon.

The pardon power extends to indictable crimes and criminal contempt. The president may not pardon for a state crime.
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