Today finishes our study of Article II, which governs the Executive Branch. This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.
Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.
SECTION 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
This section just gives a general outline of the President’s duties. It is worth noting that nothing in the Constitution gives him the authority to try to regulate the way the earth heats and cools or to interfere with our economy in the myriad ways recent Presidents have become accustomed to doing.
On the other hand, he is charged with enforcing the laws of our country, which our current President regularly fails to do, particularly when it comes to our immigration laws. Over the years, Presidents have drifted further and further afield from sticking with their Constitutional duties.
SECTION 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
This impeachment power has only been used twice in the history of our nation. Both Andrew Johnson and William Jefferson Clinton were impeached by the House of Representatives, but in both cases the Senate failed to convict. Richard Milhous Nixon resigned his office to avoid the prospect of impeachment. He is the only President in our history to do that.
Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:
“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”
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I know this one was short, but it didn’t seem to call for any lengthy commentary.
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