Thursday, December 30, 2010

U.S. Constitution: Article II

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Article II establishes the Executive Branch.

Article II, Section 1 establishes the offices of President and Vice President. The election process is by the Electoral College. Originally the State Legislatures appointed the electors, but that was later changed in 1824 to a direct vote of the electors by the people (an attempt of those that support the progressive idea of a more centralized government to move this nation in the direction of a democracy). The change was technically unconstitutional because no amendment was proposed and ratified. Section 1 also requires the President to be a Natural Born Citizen of the United States, as well as establishing his compensation.

A Natural Born Citizen was one that was not only born in the United States (or a territory) and whose father was an American Citizen. Based on the language of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1798, a person born of two American parents overseas may also make a similar claim. The importance of the father being an American citizen when it came to being a natural born citizen was so that the President would not have divided loyalties.

Article II, Section 2 gives the President the power to be Commander in Chief of the armed forces, and of the militias of all the states, which means that he is able to wage war. The declaration of war, and the funding of war, is reserved to the Congress. The ability to wage war was an important power for the president, for due to the times, if the United States needed to mobilize its military rapidly, the President did not have to wait for all of the members of Congress to return to Washington to hold a vote. If, later, the Congress wished to Declare War, such a declaration would enable the United States military to more freely fight on the battlefield. A formal declaration warned other nations that a state of war existed, and that it was advisable to remain out of the zone. Without a declaration of war, if a non-participating party entered the war zone, any action against them would be considered an act of war. If Congress did not agree with the President waging war, they have the power to defund the war, hence providing a check against the executive branch from using its power to wage war without oversight, or without limitations.

Section 2 also states that the President may have a cabinet to assist him, but that the appointees must be through the advice and consent of Congress. He may make treaties with other nations, but the treaties must be ratified by the Senate. The President may also pick judges, and other members of government, but once again none of this can be done without the approval of the Senate. This is where the constitutionality of "czars" comes in question.

Article II, Section 3 establishes the duties of the President, such as giving a State of the Union Address, making suggestions to Congress, acting as head of state by receiving ambassadors and other heads of state, and ensuring that the laws of the United States are executed.

Section 4 explains impeachment.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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