Development of Executive Power in the US
The executive power is bestowed in a president of the US by Article II of the constitution. The architects of constitution recognize the US president as the commander-in- chief of the armed forces; however, it confers upon the congress the powers to proclaim war against the enemy. Article II also articulates the president’s power to appoint various executive heads, negotiate and sign treaties, but subject to approval from the Senate. The constitution also states that the president can veto bills passed by the congress, although such vetoes can be overruled by a two-thirds votes in both houses. Constitutionally, the executive powers are limited and subject to checks by either the senate, congress or both and should be adherent to the judicial rulings. However, the modern presidency has evolved with every president expanding his executive powers. This essay analyses the development the US executive powers with respect the Cheney’s law movie.
The US president’s powers have expanded as the nation grows and encounters new challenges. The constitution provides a leeway for the executive powers to grow by being indeterminate on the roles of the president. For instance, the presidents possess the implied and informal ‘executive power’ to act accordingly in times of the nation’s emergency. Applying their implied powers, the US presidents have consistently given orders without the approval of the Congress. For example, the first president George Washington deployed the navy forces without the prompt declaration of war from the congress. The precedent has seen the subsequent president go a notch higher in expanding their mandates.
The expansion of the executive power took a new turn during the era of President George W. Bush, following the controversial legal decisions orchestrated by the Vice president Dick Cheney. In the aftermath of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, the Justice Department expounded the executive power granting the president the authoritative power to detain, interrogate and torture any person whom he deem a threat to the national security. It also authorized the president to wiretap and spy on citizens without any judicial review or congressional approval. According to Cheney’s law, the president has as the commander-in –chief should have an unlimited power to do whatever is, in his reasoning, the most appropriate measure in time of war.
The modern development of executive powers conflicts with what the framers institutional power envisioned. Framers interpretation of the constitution intended that the senate and the congress would limit the presidential powers. However, they intentionally left the limits of the presidential powers undefined, thus, leaving room for revolution. The recent decades have seen the US residents remain adamant of the congress views especially on foreign policies. For example, Bush’s policies on the use of drones on foreign enemies, despite the congressional division, are still in use under President Obama’s government.
Concisely, the executive power has been growing throughout the history of the US presidency. The Framers laid the ground for its evolution by leaving Article II, undefined and open-ended. Conferring more powers in the president of a country converts a country into a dictatorship territory. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that each branch of the government discharges its constitutional mandate without the interference of the other. The president’s office should respect the constitutional powers of the congress and the senate as well as be subjective to the judicial guidelines.
Kirk, M. (Director & Producer). (2007). Cheney’s law (Documentary). United States: Frontline. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/cheney/view