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How can the president overcome constitutional restraints?

In the USA features associated with the residing presidential system include: a codified constitution, making it difficult for a president to introduce contravening proposals, a separation of Powers between ‘trias politica’ with checks and balances, the president as the head of state and federalism, requiring the recognition of state authority. However, Stephen Graubard claimed in 2005 that “the US president is now as powerful as the monarch” suggesting that the liberty accumulated by the US President, in all respects, had greatly surpassed the level intended by the Founding Fathers in their drafting of the constitution.  The use of executive orders by the President has allowed him to overcome the nuances and constitutional constraints of having to receive senate ratification of treaties. The President essentially decides if there will be a treaty, who with and its agenda and the direction of the foreign policy. Congress may not even get the chance to consider. Congress act merely as a reactive. The imperial presidency was a belief by Schlesinger in 1973 and has been claimed to have grown excessively. Regarding war powers, with the developing practice of military actions rather than declaring, allows the President to overcome constitutional restraints. On at least 125 occasions, and usually with congress acceptance, the president of the day have developed troops to conflict zones without express military authorisation from congress to whom the responsibility of declaring war is attributed by the constitution. In June 1950, Truman took military action in what was to become known as the ‘Korean War’. The fact that this was a war in all but name and there have only ever been five formal declarations of war implies that Presidents have annexed congress duties and have overcome this constitutional constraint. For example during Nixon’s administration he bombed Laos and Cambodia, something in which congress knew nothing about until after it had taken place. Despite the war [powers act implemented in 1973 aiming to  address the balance of war powers giving congress the power of the purse, Presidents continue to consult congress later proving congress to be merely a reactive. Not to mention executive orders which allow the President to make decisions without a vote from congress, completely undermining the liberal democracy in which the framers intended on the USA being, completely avoiding mob rule. Crisis situations allow the Presidents power to maximise. For example the patriot act passed through both chambers untouched within one hour after the 9/11. Favours were in support od the president and this seemed to justify military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq post 9/11 as well as the torture in Guantanamo bay and extraordinary rendition that took place.

Cliodhna  H. GCSE Government and Politics tutor, GCSE Spanish tutor, ...

2 years ago

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