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Article Two of the Constitution
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Article Two of the Constitution

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How our Executive Branch Works

How our Executive Branch Works

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  • 1. Article 2: Powers Given to the Executive Branch
  • 2. Who is in the Executive Branch? Article 2, Section 1, Clause 1: The executive shall be vested in a President…
    • The President and Vice President lead this branch. It is their duty to see that the laws of our nation are carried out.
    • The President is the only person in our government that represents all people . Why?
    • Elected every 4 years.
  • 3. Electing Presidents Article 2, Section 1, Clause 2: Each state shall appoint… a number of electors.
    • Some founding fathers didn’t trust the people to have 100% of the voting power, so we have a “buffer.”
    • The Electoral College is an indirect election of the president.
      • We tell the Electoral College who to vote for with our vote.
  • 4. Electoral Math Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 cont: … equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the state may be entitled in the Congress…
    • Each state’s number of electors is = to Representatives + Senators (Illinois would send ? )
      • When you vote for Obama or McCain, you’re not really voting for them. You’re voting for the 21 electors that are loyal to them. In December, they cast their vote according to ours.
    • How Electoral Votes in all?
    • Need 270 win.
    • “ Winner take all”
      • 2 states (Nebraska and Maine) divide their votes by Congressional district.
  • 5. Are some states more important than others? Which would you go after first? How many states would you need to get 270?
  • 6. Flaws in the Electoral College?
    • Nothing is to say that an Electoral College voter has to follow our vote.
      • These are called “faithless electors.” However, the people chosen as electors are very loyal to that candidate.
      • What do they do if their candidate dies?
    • 3 times, a president has been elected via the Electoral College while losing the popular vote:
      • Bush in 2000, Harrison in 1888 and Hayes in 1876.
    • If there is a tie in the Electoral College, the House of Representatives votes to break it.
  • 7. Qualifications of the Executive Article 2, Section1, Clause 5: No person except a natural-born citizen shall be eligible…
    • Must be a Natural Born Citizen of the US.
    • Must be a 14 year resident of the US.
    • Must be 35 years old.
  • 8. Line of Succession : What happens if a President Dies? Article 2, Section 1, Clause 6: sets up the Presidential Succession Act of 1947
      • 1. The President is immediately replaced by the Vice President .
      • 2. In the even that both President/VP are “eliminated,” the Speaker of the House would assume the Presidency.
      • 3. In the event all 3 are gone, the “ President Pro Tempore ” of the Senate assumes the Presidency.
      • 4. If all four are eliminated, replacement is done by the President’s Cabinet (in order of inception) .
    President John F. Kennedy – Minutes before his Assassination (November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas).
  • 9. Line of Succession, continued…
    • In any case, the new President names his/her VP, and fills any vacancies in the Cabinet.
      • Who is the only President to NEVER have been elected, because of events related to this process?
    • There is always a “Designated Survivor” at the State of the Union and such large public gatherings of government.
    William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln (A), James Garfield (A), William McKinley (A), Warren G. Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy (A) are the 8 Presidents who have died in office.
  • 10. Other Details… Article 2, Section 1, Clauses 7 and 8: Salary and Oath of Office
    • The President makes $400,000.
      • Only Congress can change that.
    • Oath of Office is the culminating event of Inauguration Day (January 20 th ).
      • Chief Justice of Supreme Court does this.
      • “ I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. “
  • 11. Presidential Powers Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 & 2: The President shall be commander in chief… seek opinions… grant reprieves and pardons… also: “advice and consent” clause.
    • Commander in Chief : Simply put, the President commands all military actions (including the National Guard).
      • Who declares war?
    • Can create a cabinet of experts of whom he can ask opinions of.
    • Can issue pardons and reprieves .
      • Allows the President to release anyone from jail that he’d like.
      • Very, very controversial.
    • Negotiate treaties and agreements with nations.
      • 2/3 of the Senate must approve, however.
    • Appoint judges and ambassadors
      • With Senate approval, of course.
  • 12. Other Presidential Powers Article 2, Section 3, Clauses 1-6: The President is very, very busy.
    • Clause 1: deliver the “state of the union.”
      • Can motivate or inspire Congress to write/pass laws. Or, he can just “tell” them to (this makes him a legislator, of sorts).
    • Clause 2: call for a special session of Congress.
      • Only if they fail to do their job in a timely fashion (only happened 27 times in history, and not since 1948).
    • Clause 3: represent our country in discussions with other nations as the “face” of our country.
      • Also gives him power of “foreign policy.”
    • Clause 4: faithfully execute our nations laws.
      • He can adjust the budget at times.
      • Can also suspend habeas corpus, though rare.
      • Executive Order has come from this:
        • The President’s power to issue directives, which are basically laws coming from the President, without Congressional approval.
  • 13. The Cabinet Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2: “advice and consent” clause.
    • The members of the cabinet are his closest advisors… experts in a particular area that can help the President make decisions that affect our country. While not in the Constitution, it’s impossible for the President to carry out his duties without their aid.
    The President chooses these to help him/her make the best decisions possible. Think of them as the assistant coaches or supporting cast.
  • 14. All the President’s Men (and women!) For the Test, just be sure to identify what these are.
    • Department of State (leader is called the Secretary of State)
    • Department of Treasury
    • Department of Defense
    • Department of Justice ( Attorney General)
    • Department of Interior
    • Department of Agriculture
    • Department of Commerce
    • Department of Labor
    • Department of Health and Human Services
    • Department of Housing and Urban Development
    • Department of Transportation
    • Department of Energy
    • Department of Education
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Department of Homeland Security *Created in 2002!
  • 15. Agencies of the Executive Branch Not on Test…
    • Chief of Staff (“The Gatekeeper”)
    • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Office of Management and Budget
    • National Drug Control Policy
    • Central Intelligence Agency
    • Federal Trade Commission
    • National Security Advisor
    • Director of National Intelligence
  • 16. Presidential Perks Just for fun – not on the Test!
    • Air Force One, Navy One, Marine One, Coast Guard One, Army One, and… Cadillac One!
    • Secret Service protection (from serious candidacy until death)
    • Bowling alley, pool, movie theatre, jogging track, putting green.
    • Personal Gourmet Chef, 24/7
    • Lifetime of benefits (pension, health care, home). Bill Clinton gets $1.2 million worth of benefits per year!