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Under the devolved system of governance, the President’s powers were trimmed and redistributed to the local governments. However, the president still enjoys three sources of power that include constitutional, institutional, and political sources. This present essay will focus on these current sources of power for the presidency and it will begin with an assessment of the constitutional powers of the President, followed by an assessment of how the 20th century presidents of the U.S have been able to use institutional and political resources to overcome challenges brought about by weak constitutional presidential powers. Lastly, the essay will highlight on the likely future balance of power between the Presidents and the Congress. Constitutional powers of the President It is correct to argue that the ratification of the constitution resulted in the presidency having weak powers. According to Ginsberg et al., these constitutional powers of the President are spelt out in Article Two of the U.S constitution, which formally creates the executive arm of the central government that is made up of the President, the Vice President, and other presidential appointees. In particular, presidential powers are stated under section 2 of Article Two and they are split into three clauses (387-391). Clause 1 under Article Two gives the President exclusive powers over the U.S’ armed forces since the President is the Commander-in-chief. Furthermore, the clause states that the President shall become the Commander in Chief of militia of several states when he/ she is called into service. However, according to Ginsberg et al., this is power is weakened by the fact that it is only Congress, which can declare war (375). Nevertheless, this fact has been an issue of contention, more so during the Bush era, when President George Bush circumvented the Congress and seemingly declared war on Afghanistan while the Congress simply approved his decision. With reference to the writings by Ginsberg et al., it can be argued that Clause 1 is vague in the sense that during times of war there is usually no time to debate and wait for the Congress to declare war (403-405). Therefore, it can be assumed that the President is acting in the best interest of the Nation by declaring war at a strategic time. Under Clause 2, the President has powers to make treaties and nominate Judges of the Supreme Court, public Ministers, Ambassadors, and key Officers of the U.S. However, this power is watered down by the fact that the President must first seek the advice and consent from the senate before making any Treaty and nominations and there are instances where the senate has repealed certain treaties signed by Presidents (Ginsberg et al. 412-415). The third Presidential power is spelt out under Clause 3, which gives the President Powers to make a recess appointment that expires when the next session of the senate ends or until the appointee is confirmed by the senate. This Presidential power is also weakened by the fact that these appointments are not permanent and they are only made when the senate is on recess. How U.S Presidents in the 20th century have used institutional and political resources to overcome weakness of Presidential powers With references to the writings by Ginsberg et al., he noted that U.S Presidents in the 20th century as well as the 21st century have laid claim to certain inherent powers that they feel are intertwined with the powers that have been granted to them under Article Two of the constitution (Ginsberg et al. 423-428). Moreover, the Presidents have been able to lay claim on this inherent powers because the constitution is
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