Presidential Law and Presidential Responsibilities

Executive Orders and Presidential Directives are a large part of the president’s powers. They state mandatory actions for federal agencies and must be consistent with the Constitution and laws enacted by Congress.


When a president issues an order that exceeds his authority, the power to override that order falls to Congress. Federal courts strike down orders that exceed the scope of a president’s power.

Constitutional Authority

When a president receives a bill from Congress, they have several options: They can agree with the legislation and sign it into law, or they can veto the bill. If the President vetoes a bill, it can be overridden by Congress by a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.

Congress, in general, is a much stronger body of authority than the executive branch, and many of its powers are granted to it by the Constitution. But because of this, the President must be wary of overstepping his or her authority.

The Supreme Court has ruled that, for instance, the president does not have the power to command state officials to do something that is not explicitly granted in the Constitution. For example, in a recent case, the Court struck down the 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which sought to force states to comply with certain regulations regarding nuclear waste.

Some other issues that the courts have considered are:

First, the president has been accused of overstepping his or her authority when it comes to immigration. In several cases, lawmakers have challenged the Obama administration’s use of so-called “sanctuary cities” and its attempts to bar undocumented immigrants from entering the United States.

Secondly, the president’s authority over foreign affairs is somewhat limited, although the president does have authority to negotiate treaties and appoint federal judges and ambassadors. However, he or she must ratify these treaties before they can take effect.

Third, the president has some inherent authority over domestic affairs, such as the right to conduct a national emergency and to issue executive orders. This inherent power is often bolstered by statutory authorities or other cases that have been decided in the past.

Fourth, the Constitution grants Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. In the case of international trade, however, lawmakers have for decades given the president special “fast track” authority to negotiate certain deals within established parameters. This special authority, while important for negotiating new trade agreements, has also led to periodic tug-of-wars between the president and Congress on foreign policy issues.

Powers of the President

The President of the United States directs the executive branch of the federal government, appoints members of the Cabinet, and is the commander-in-chief of the military. The president is also responsible for enforcing the laws written by Congress and making sure they are carried into effect.

In order to carry out his responsibilities, the President must exercise a number of constitutional powers. These powers include the power to sign or veto legislation passed by Congress.

Generally, a president has the power to sign or veto any bill that receives a 2/3 majority vote in each house of Congress. However, he is not authorized to issue a “line-item veto,” which allows him to veto only particular portions of a bill.

Another important power that a president has is the power to appoint “inferior officers” in the executive branch, including members of the Cabinet and federal judges. The power to make such appointments is vestable in the President only by Congress’ approval.

The appointive powers of the President are an important source of presidential strength, especially in times of war or national emergency. In those situations, presidents have the authority to appoint representatives of foreign governments and conduct diplomacy with them.

As a result, the powers of a president can be split into two main areas: domestic affairs and foreign policy. The former involves a range of duties that the Constitution lists, such as presenting the State of the Union to Congress, giving speeches, and preparing a budget.

In addition, the President has a broad array of judicial and diplomatic powers, which he can use to implement and enforce laws. These include the powers to appoint ambassadors, recognize foreign countries, and enforce agreements with them.

Although the Constitution vests these judicial and diplomatic powers in the president, they may be used by other members of the executive branch, as well. For example, a president can appoint the head of the national security agencies and the heads of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Similarly, the president has the power to appoint members of the Supreme Court and the United States District Courts. He can also appoint judges in the United States Court of Appeals, and he has the power to fill vacancies in the courts through recess appointments.

Responsibilities of the President

The president has a number of responsibilities that he or she must perform as part of the job. Some of these are specified in the Constitution, while others have evolved over time.

One of the most important responsibilities is to ensure that our nation’s laws are obeyed and carried out. This requires appointing members of the Cabinet (a group of officials who advise a leader), federal judges, and Supreme Court justices, all of whom must be approved by the Senate. The president also submits the national budget to Congress.

Another responsibility is to oversee the nation’s major government departments and agencies. This involves managing a staff of thousands and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the executive branch.

These departments include the Cabinet (a group of officials who advise the president), as well as the executive agencies, such as the CIA and Environmental Protection Agency, that are under the direct supervision of the president. The president also appoints more than 50 independent federal commissions, as well as federal judges and ambassadors.

Additionally, the president is responsible for foreign policy, which includes negotiating treaties with other countries and establishing diplomatic relationships with them. This can involve traveling the world to meet with leaders and signing agreements. These treaties must be ratified by the Senate before they can take effect.

Finally, the president is also expected to lead the country by setting a moral tone that promotes exemplary honesty and religious faith. This is an increasingly important issue in modern politics, as public opinion polls are often asked about the character of elected officials.

As a member of a political party, the president is also required to endorse the party’s platform and to help raise money for its candidates. This is a challenging task, as interest groups with different opinions can pose a threat to the unity of the party.

The Constitution assigns the president a variety of duties and powers, including the power to sign or veto legislation, command the armed forces, ask for the written opinion of his Cabinet, convene or adjourn Congress, grant reprieves and pardons, and receive ambassadors. The president may also make treaties that require the approval of two-thirds of the Senate.

Powers of the Senate

The Senate, as the upper chamber of Congress, possesses several powers. It proposes and amends legislation, approves treaties that were negotiated by the executive branch, and confirms presidential appointees for federal agencies. It also presides over impeachment proceedings against high officials and has the power to convict a person on a two-thirds vote.

The Senate is made up of Senators from each state who are elected to serve six-year terms. Their terms are staggered so that approximately one-third of their seats are up for election every two years.

Before a bill becomes law, it must be passed by both houses of Congress. If the House of Representatives and the Senate cannot agree on a bill, it goes to the president for a signature. If the president signs it, it becomes a law of the United States.

Likewise, the president must also get the approval of the Senate before he can veto legislation. Similarly, the president must ask the Senate to confirm his nominations for executive appointments, including the presiding officers of the Supreme Court and certain federal agencies.

In addition, the Senate has extensive investigative powers and can compel witnesses to testify before them. If a person does not cooperate, they can be charged with contempt of Congress, which could result in a prison term.

The Senate has the power to impeach high federal officials by a two-thirds vote. It can also try a case of impeachment and remove an official from office.

Although the Senate is a more formal and deliberative body than the House of Representatives, it does not have a rules committee like the House of Representatives that sets floor procedures. The Senate has a long history of using the filibuster, which allows senators to delay or block legislation by prolonging debate.

The Senate is led by a president pro tempore, who is typically the ranking member of the party in control of the majority of the Senate. The President pro tempore can vote to break a deadlock, but does not have the same general powers of the Vice President.