Presidency I


Formal v. Practical Powers


Formal powers under the Constitution

-         Veto laws subject to 2/3rds Congressional reversal

-         Few formal powers

o       “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”

o       grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”

o       nominate officials “by and with advice and consent the Senate”

o       can convene either or both houses of Congress



Practical authority of the president


-         bully pulpit

-         organizational resources

o       staff and control over information

-         deference to democratic legitimacy

o       only nationally elected official

-         "Power to Persuade" (Neustadt)

-         Prerogative Power (Pious)

o       Emergency power in text

o       Correction: Curtiss-Wright did not uphold emergency power

§        Congress delegated decision to impose arms embargo to the president

§        7 to 1 decision (Justice Stone did not take part)


Limits on president's effective authority

-         Public tolerance 

-         Congressional action

-         Bureaucratic politics and organizational interests

-         Party objections