What You Think Are the Major Powers and Duties of the President

Published 26 Apr 2017

As argued by several commentators, the provisions that should be changed in article 2 section 2 of the United States Constitution are with regard to the Commander in Chief of the Army, Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States. The reason for this is that it grants the President unbridled discretion in the deployment of American Troops. The recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan have clearly demonstrated that the power of the United States President to deploy American Troops any way he sees fit is a power that needs to be put in check.

When the framers of the Constitution were drafting the Supreme Law of the land, it is arguable if they envisioned the powers that the president exercises would have that much influence. Perhaps it was agreed that they President would be more effective with the grant of these powers but as recent experience on the War on Terror shows, there is a need for a reexamination of these powers. There is a pressing urgency to find new ways by which to keep these powers under check while at the same time granting the president enough power to run the country effectively and protect it from outside threats.

While the right to declare war outright is not a presidential imperative and must be ratified by Congress, it does not necessarily mean that such is a power that the president cannot exercise or that the president cannot, through political maneuvering, convince Congress to vote in this favor. The current system of checks and balances can be easily exploited by the president which leads to it being ineffective. This implies that the power that the president has is virtually unchecked and absolute. As with the power of executive clemency, it has been previously mentioned that the president alone should not have the power to determine the fate of a single person. It must be open to review and while it is recognized that the Judiciary has the power of review over the acts of the other branches of government it is limited by the Constitution to certain fields that it may exercise this power of review over.

Based on the provisions of law, it cannot be argued that the president exercises too much power. In fact, a theoretical analysis of these powers reveals that there is not much power the president can exercise due to the power of veto and review of the other co-equal branches of government. In practice, however, the reality is quite different and the president does have the right to exercise these powers with his full discretion. As such, the power of the president can be considered as being too much in this perspective. The challenge lies in being able to grant the president the powers that he needs to run the government effectively without providing him too much power that may lead to abuse or foreign policy disasters.

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