What Makes the Presidency the Most Powerful Branch?

What Makes the Presidency the Most Powerful Branch?

May 10, 2019

hi discussive Kowski for AP gov and in this video we'd be looking at how the presidency has morphed into one of the most powerful branches of government and arguably certainly you can look at executive orders as well as other powers of the president in terms of coming to that conclusion so we know that the president already has very various informal powers everything for morale builder – crisis manager – budget setter and these are things that are not listed in article 2 of the Constitution but the president's has already assumed this and we've seen a growing concentration of power in the presidency since the time of night of the 1930s with FDR like you know expanding the power and the roles of the presidency I mean for example prior to the 1930s nobody really looked to the President to stimulate the economy but upon the Great Depression people are now looking to FDR and he assumes this role as being sort of a manager of the economy and today we certainly look to the president whether or not they really have all that much control to help the economy as a manager of the budget regardless so I start off with this idea and this comes from an author who published a book I believe in the 1970s or maybe early 1980s with the last name question jerk and he comes up with this idea that our presidency really mirrors an imperial presidency and this has happened as a result of economic growth that is basically necessity necessitated the need for a strong executive branch and that Congress has been happy enough to delegate a lot of its strong powers to the executive branch especially when we look at the areas of foreign policy and some question well do we need this in an age of terrorism do we need a quick-acting branch to be able to deal with foreign policy issues especially when wars now happen a lot more quickly and as we go through this think about this you know when we look at Bush and Obama were they an imperial president is Trump trending this way and then also ask your question is it bad do you even have an imperial president so let's look at some of the build-up as to why the presidency especially in my opinion is the most powerful branch of the three but we'll start with war powers well certainly we know there's a conflict there right the president is the commander in chief but Congress also has the right to declare war in article one and what's incredible is that the last time the United States has officially declared war was technically world war two so the Korean War not a war if the Vietnam War not a war war in Iraq and Afghanistan and Iraq technically not a war those were instances in when in which the president utilized his power of commander-in-chief to do so now some say this is really needed in a changing world back in the day yes Congress could mole over the decision about whether or not to declare war war happen a lot more slowly compared to today so it's incredible that presidents have sent in the troops over 125 times without Congress even saying a peep and they've gone along with that that's very very powerful for one person to make that decision what about the veto power the mere threat of a veto can certainly influence changes in legislation it is very difficult to override one particular present and again because that requires a two-thirds vote in most political parties do not have two-thirds of that vote in either house of Congress what's incredible is that around 93 percent on average of vetoes are sustained so they're not even challenged again the mere threat of the veto can be enough to influence changes or even the rail legislation now when you look at presidential vetoes it's quite amazing when you look at FDR 635 vetoes out of that 635 only nine have been overridden now you look at others certainly much less but 21 with Kennedy 0 30 with Johnson 0 but even today you see the number of views has significantly decreased again the mere threat of a veto is enough to derail the legislation or influence changes yet even today very difficult to see those vetoes be overridden by Congress another important part as to why the presidency has strengthened over tidesinn the called executive privilege and this refers to private community between himself in principal advisors it's the idea that this should be basically privileged speech that some stuff you want the president to be honest with his advisors and give feedback here you know back and forth there's nothing in the Constitution that actually supports this is that just been a thing that's been done by tradition now some constitutional basis for allowing executive privilege is that there is a separation of powers that one branch law says Congress should not be inquiring about the internal workings of another branch right the branches are supposed to be supreme in their responsibilities they should not be meddling in other one's affairs and the argument again presidents and advisers need assurance of private discussion especially with national security issues that again Congress should not be meddling into what the president is talking about with his advisors what's interesting is that this is not questioned until the Watergate scandal and a very supreme famous Supreme Court case known as US v Nixon said basically well there is no absolute privilege of immunity you are not immune President Nixon and this was a significant that finally limited presidential expansion through executive privilege with this Supreme Court case so this of course is going to force Nixon to turn over documents an internal private communication with respect to the Watergate scandal but certainly executive privilege is sometimes claimed and sometimes dicta Supreme Court case to say well no absolute privilege of immunity and here is again a political cartoon you see Brockville brock obama saying oh executive privilege it's my invincibility cloak in some ways yes I mean his executive privilege can work that way another important reason why the presidency has expanded quite significantly is the use of executive orders this refers to when the president can issue these which have the force of law relating to the Constitution treaties or legislative statutes and basically it's going to direct an executive agency as to how to administer a law sometimes the laws unclear and they need directive it is also sometimes used when Congress opposes the president's agenda and the president feels like he has no other option so as a result we solve this a lot especially with President Obama with immigration that Congress wasn't you know cooperating with him because they were the opposing political party as a result he made executive orders so this has been done by many many presidents the only restriction is that it has to be published in the Federal Register which is a daily publication of newest government these orders are not overturned all that much again who's really checking the president's power not a lot of people because there are long branches because again the president's really for the most part or not going to be overturned now it's also fair to say the presidents don't issue them if they anticipate a veto-proof majority against them certainly if they if they certainly might get overridden or perhaps or not constitutionally sound they are not allowed to do this now where's the constitutional basis of this again the executive order is not listed as a formal power but if you try to etch something out of the article to income in the Constitution it'd be that the president has to take care that the laws be faithfully executed well how does the president do that that comes through executive orders so right here you have an implied power that allows for executive orders to be utilized in an executive order very very powerful tool for the president and Donald Trump has used these quite frequently and quite often so if you really look within the first two weeks you see Trump used it eight times Obama nine so again this could be in it you know a result of divided government we see the prior to that Truman had seven but not all that you know utilized in the first two weeks but President Trump as well as Obama more frequently and again that could be an effect of divided government moving on impoundment um this is a presidential practice of refusing to spend money appropriated by Congress and this was done by President Nixon ultimately this was outlawed by the budget reform and impoundment Act of 1974 so Congress has the power of the person so let's say it allocates ten million dollars for some program that the president doesn't support remember the president is supposed to execute this with funding from Congress and the president just says we're going to not utilize the funds we're not going to spend it well that is outlawed under the budget we form an impoundment Act saying that you cannot impound money you have to spend it because Congress ultimately has the power of the purse so this was also another check and again under Nixon on the imperial presidency but again if you really look at executive orders executive privilege War Powers veto power that is a lot of power right there for the president for one person so certainly there are concerns that linger some say that you know there are already too many checks and balances on the president whereas others say well if you have a president that mirrors a king or some type of monarch ultimately the president has certainly increased the the amount of power over time starting with FDR but at the end of the day Americans expect a lot from presidents look at all the formal and informal powers that the presidency has assumed ultimately the president is part of you know the larger organization of the government and you have a task that you have to execute under Article two while the president has to work and lead Congress that can be difficult especially under divided government and that might be a reason why executive orders are being more frequently used ultimately presidential roles and responsibilities even national security are tied to the Madisonian system of checks and balances because at the end of the day if the president issues an executive order that's unconstitutional it will be challenged it will go to the courts and they will make a ruling or Congress can simply override that executive order and pass a more narrow law that overrides that particular executive order so again there are still checks and balances it's not just what the stroke of the pen and that's the final word so certainly there are some checks involved here but think about that is the power of the presidency too large it should it be checked or is it needed in this time of uncertainty when anything can happen at the click of a button a snap of a finger so that was that is certainly a question for you to think about

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