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The Presidency

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Balancing--effective, but not dangerous

  • Four year term
  • Powers shared with Congress
  • No change in salary during term
  • Removal by Congress


  • 35 years old
  • 14 years a U.S. resident
  • Natural born citizen or citizen at time of adoption of Constitution


  • 4 years
  • Tradition broken by Roosevelt
  • 22nd Amendment (1951) specified
    • Can't be elected more than twice
    • Can only be elected once if served 2+ years of another's term


  • VP takes over on death, resignation, removal, inability
  • Replacement of VP--President nominates and Senate confirms
  • If neither Pres or VP are available--congress establishes succession
    • Speaker of House
    • President pro tempore of Senate
    • Cabinet officers--Secretary of State is the first
  • Who determines inability--25th Amendment (1967)
    • President can send a letter to congress declaring his disability
    • VP and Cabinet can send a letter to congress declaring the President's disability
    • If there is disagreement--congress decides

Constitutional Powers of the President

  • Commander in Chief --civilian control of military
  • Pardons
  • Treaties--with advice and consent of congress
  • Nominate ambassadors, judges, other officers
  • Recommend measures to congress
  • "Take care that all laws be faithfully executed"
  • Veto (Article 1, Sec. 7)
    • Bills become law if not signed in 10 days
    • Veto can be overturned by 2/3 of both houses
    • Pocket veto--if not signed and congress adjourns in < 10 days
    • Line item veto--declared unconstitutional

Other Methods of Influence

  • Executive Orders
  • Personality--Kennedy, Reagan
  • Arm twisting--Johnson
  • Removal from office
    • For treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors
    • House--power to impeach (means bring to trial) on majority vote
    • Senate--trial and removal from office on 2/3 vote


  • Andrew Johnson
    • Conflicts with Radical Republicans over treatment of the South
    • Impeached and one vote short of 2/3 for removal in the Senate
    • Established precedent that presidents are not removed for political reasons
  • Richard Nixon
    • Charged with Obstruction of Justice in Watergate investigation
    • Discouraged FBI investigation
    • Got rid of evidence
    • Hush money payments
    • THE question--what did the president know, and when did he know it
    • Taped conversations provided the additional evidence necessary
    • House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach
    • Resigned on Aug. 9, 1974
  • Bill Clinton
    • Involved in relationship with Monica
    • Information provided to Paul Jones attorneys
    • Gave deposition in Jones case and testified before Grand Jury
    • Charged with perjury and obstruction of justice
    • House voted to impeach on two of four charges--narrow, party line votes
    • Senate
    • Chief Justice presides
    • Acquitted on both charges
    • Issue--what constitutes "high crimes and misdemeanors"?
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . factpetersen. (2007, October 19). The Presidency. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License