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Ali San

Per. 6
Gov terms
Divided Government- One party controls the WH and another party controls
one or both houses of C; more common these days
Unified government- the same party controls the White House and both
houses of Congress
Electoral college- the people chosen to cast each state's votes in a
presidential election; each state casts one vote for each Congressmen it has
Pyramid structure- a president's subordinates report to him through a clear
chain of command headed by a chief of staff
Circular structure- several of the president's assistants report directly to him
Ad hoc structure- several subordinates, cabinet officers, and committees
report directly to the president on different matters
Cabinet- the heads of the fifteen executive branch departments of the federal
government; must be approved by Senate
Veto message-a message from the president to Congress that he will not sign
a bill it has passed. Must be produced within ten days of the bill's passage
Pocket veto- a bill fails to become law because the president does not sign it
within ten days before Congress adjourns
Line-item veto- an executive's ability to block a particular provision in a bill
passed by the legislature; unconstitutional on the national level
Legislative veto-the authority of C to block a presidential action after it has
taken place; unconstitutional
Impeachment- criminal indictment against a president approved by a simple
majority of the House of Representatives; very rare
Lame duck- a person still in office after we know that he or she will not serve
the next term for any reason; will not face consequences of actions in office
25th Amendment- VP becomes P after he dies or resigns; P nominates VP
after former VP dies or resigns Congress approval; when P gives SH and PT
written declaration of disability, VP becomes acting P; if VP and majority of
Cabinet say to SH and PT that P has disability, VP immediately becomes
acting P; after this, if P says to SH and PT that no disability exists but VP and
majority of Cabinet disagree within 4 days, C must be assembled within 48
hrs and 2/3 vote of entire C is required within 21 days to make VP into acting
Direct Democracy- a government in which all or most citizens participate
Executive Agencies- An agency of the executive branch of government.
Executive Office of the President- The branch of the United States
government that is responsible for carrying out the laws.

Executive Privilege- The principle that members of the executive branch of
government cannot legally be forced to disclose their confidential
communications when such disclosure would adversely affect the operations
of procedures of the executive branch.
Office of Management and Budget- The largest office within the executive
office of the President of the United States (EOP)
Perks- Perquisites" meaning "fringe benefits of office."
Implied Powers- Those powers authorized by a legal document from the
Constitution, which, while not stated, seem to be implied powers expressly
Presidential Coattails- The ability of a presidential candidate to bring out
supporters who then vote for his party.
Representative Democracy- A government in which leaders make decisions
by winning a competitive struggle for the popular vote.
22 Amendment- Limited presidential terms to 2 for only 1 person, or to 1
elected term if the person has completed more than 2 years of another's
White House Office- Presidential staff who oversee the policy interests of the
Veto- The power to stop an official action, especially the enactment of
Delegate Representation- elected representative whose obligation is to act in
accordance with the expressed wishes of the people they represent
Budget Reform Act of 1974- A congressional effort to control presidential
impoundments. It requires, among other things, that the president spend all
appropriated funds unless he first tells Congress which funds he wishes not
to spend and Congress, within forty-five days, agrees to delete the items.
Impoundment- placing private property in the custody of an officer of the law
Independent agencies- Federal agencies that are part of the executive branch
but outside the structure of cabinet departments. Their heads typically serve
fixed terms of office and can be removed only for cause
Rescissions- Presidential recommendations to cut parts of appropriations
bills; a 1996 law allows the president's rescissions to go into effect unless
they are overridden by a two-thirds vote in Congress.
Presidential succession- eventually defined in the 25th amendment; list of
people includes VP, Speaker of the House, President Pro Temp, Secretary of
State, etc.
Trustee Representation- elected representative whose obligation is to act in
accordance with their own conscience as to what policies are in the best
interests of the public
Prime Minister- chosen by parliament, they have a majority (coalition) in the
Parliament. They are insiders, with usually no term limits.


1. The power of commander in chief was, at first, not considered to entail much authority;
the main military force was expected to be state militias, and the president was thought to
lack any independent offensive capability without prior congressional approval. The
president also was given the power to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
The wording seemed to imply that the president was allowed to do no more than carry out
the laws of Congress, but subsequent Supreme Court interpretations of this clause have
expanded the scope of presidential authority to act without a specific congressional
mandate in domestic affairs. An important source of increased presidential power has
always been politics and public opinion: The American people look to the president for
leadership and hold this official responsible for national affairs. Richard Neustadt has
argued that the presidents success depends not on any formal power but on the ability to
persuade, especially as exercised in regard to the people within
the Washington establishment.
2. The White House staff was initially quite small, with presidents often personally
answering the telephone and their own mail. Presidents have developed three strategies
for organizing the White House Office. In the circular structure, several assistants have
direct access to the president. This arrangement maximizes the flow of information to the
president but produces internal confusion over lines of authority. In
the pyramid structure, a chief of staff controls access to the president and positions are
organized in a hierarchical formation. Presidents have recently begun to rely more
heavily on White House staff for policy proposals than cabinet departments, a fact that
creates a stressful relationship within the executive branch. In the ad hoc structure, the
president employs task forces and informal groups. In general, however, presidents have
preferred the pyramidal structure, with Carter and Reagan shifting to this mode to cut
back on the demands on their time imposed by the circular model. The EOP, which
includes the White House Office and Office of the Vice President, consists of agencies
that perform staff services for the president but are not (with the exception of the White
House Office) located in the White House itself. The cabinet consists of the heads of the
federal departments. Given the presidents lack of constitutional powers and his inability
to depend on cooperation from Congress or even support from the executive branch, he
must necessarily rely on persuasion if he is to accomplish much.
3. The president can exercise this constitutional power of the office by sending a veto
message back to Congress or by doing nothing if Congress adjourns within ten days of
sending the bill to the president: this is called a pocket veto. Overturning a veto requires a
two-thirds vote in both houses. The veto is a powerful weapon, because historically less
than 4 percent of presidents vetoes have been overridden. In 1996, Congress enhanced
the veto power of the president by enhancing the presidents budgetary rescission
authority. (This innovation was popularly known as the line-item veto.) The Supreme
Court, however, subsequently ruled this law, unconstitutional.
4. The president has traditionally claimed the right to keep communication secret within
the executive branch, based on the principle of separation of powers (which would be
compromised if the internal workings of one branch could be scrutinized by another
branch) and on the presidents need to obtain confidential and candid advice from
advisers (who could not be frank if their communications were made public). In the
Watergate tapes case (United States v. Nixon) the Supreme Court held that executive
privilege was not absolute and did not allow the president to withhold evidence from a
criminal investigation. This decision was reinforced, and even expanded, by additional
court rulings during the Clinton administration, which further limited executive privilege.
5. Legitimacy is the best way for a government to gain authority. A peaceful and orderly
handover from one legitimate regime to the next is the best way to maintain legitimacy. A
revolutionary government can be legitimate, but it must represent the wills of the people,
or at least represent the people better than the preceding government did. Most
established countries have a formal process for removing one leader and replacing that
leader with the new government. As long as the rules are followed, the new government
maintains legitimacy and efficacy. For example in Kenya, the current government took
over in a military coup. They created a democracy, and helped stabilize the country in a
very unstable region. By creating a democracy and addressing the needs of the people
they became a legitimate government. It helps that they removed an oppressive regime
that had also taken control via force, but failed to address the needs of the citizens. For
example, the elected government allegedly (and almost certainly) rigged the elections.
They failed to hand over power in a peaceful and orderly manner. Unable to maintain
control of the people the president has been working with the opposition on a power
sharing agreement. The hopes are that a new, peaceful and orderly organized government
will allow the government to operate with legitimacy.
6. The role of vice presidency has been unimportant because the president chooses based
on who will balance the ticket (especially when running for office and campaigning).
Vice presidents are most commonly elected for purely political reasons, to make a party's
ticket more attractive to the voters. This often means that the vice presidential candidate
provides regional or ideological balance to the ticket. Constitution established the vice
presidency as a critically important but virtually powerless role. Vice presidents have few
formal duties or powers. But they have to be ready to take over at a moment's notice if
something happens to the president.
7. The President is responsible for making about 6,000 appointments - the most important
of which are his cabinet and federal judges (including the Supreme Court). The Senate
must approve most of these. The President is the final authority in military matters and
ultimately is responsible for the entire military might of the United States. The President
has the right to conduct diplomatic missions and set foreign policy on behalf of the
United States. The President has the power to pardon or commute the sentence of
convicted criminals. The President has the ability to declare a 90-day period of
Emergency during which he can use the full force of the military without seeking
permission from Congress either in the form of a declaration of war or through funding.
The President can veto any bill signed by Congress - preventing it from passing unless
both Houses can muster a 2/3rd majority in favor of passing the bill. In most cases, a veto
will kill a proposed bill. Probably the most important "informal power" of the President is
his ability to influence the legislative agenda and set economic policy. As the most
powerful single individual in the US government, the President is able to "throw his
weight around" and influence areas not under his direct control. The role of a president is
not that powerful. The legislative is probably the most powerful among all the branches.
They write our laws, levy our taxes, declare our wars, confirm our Supreme Court
Justices and Cabinet Officials, and decide how the federal money is spent, amongst other
actionable powers. In addition to their great many capabilities, as it concerns this
discussion, Congress has the authority to impeach and dismiss the occupants of the other
2 branches. This, above all else, makes the Legislative Branch, undoubtedly, the most
powerful of the three.