09.14.2010 2

Article II of the Constitution

Editor’s Note: With this Friday being Constitution day, we will be covering the Constitution throughout the week with a new article each day that examines a particular section or article of the Constitution.

The Executive branch is one of the more controversial branches of the Federal Government.

Article II of the U.S. Constitution lays out the duties of the Executive Branch, and it is far briefer than Article I which grants Congress its power. It is no coincidence that the Founding Fathers chose to list the Executive Branch second in the Constitution, behind the powers that they grant to Congress, which they viewed as the most powerful of the three branches.

After the Revolutionary War, many were skeptical of a strong executive—and rightly so. The American colonies had just waged a war against a “tyrant” who had ruled as a strong executive. The Founders were naturally wary of allowing the same thing to happen on their own soil. Thus, they created a rather weak executive office that was empowered to carry out the will of congress.

In fact, so weak is the executive branch, that all actions of the President, the office created in Section 1 of Article II, are held accountable to Congress. The President must seek authority from Congress before carrying out such actions as appointing heads of his departments, or Cabinet Secretaries as they are now called.

In Section 2, the rules for electing a President are laid out via the creation of an Electoral College. The Electoral College was designed to protect less populace states from being trampled on by more populace states during the election of a President and Vice President. To this day, this system has allowed all states to have their own voice fairly heard in elections of the nation’s highest office.

We are faced today with an executive branch that has continually seized power from the legislative side, that today, the office of the President is nearly unrecognizable to the early days of our Republic.

The core powers of the President and the Executive Branch are to serve as the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, to handle appointments to Federal offices that are approved in Section 2, to report to Congress the State of the Union, and, when absolutely necessary, convene both the House and the Senate. Have we seen a President that has strictly dealt with just these powers?

While the President has the power as Commander in Chief, as granted in Section 2, he does not have the power to declare war. That power is left to the Congress per Article I, Section #. However, since World War II, the U.S. has gone to war without declarations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam & Korea. Contrary to the Constitution, the Congress has abdicated its power to the President, only using its power of the purse to fund wars—without being accountable to the people by voting for or against going to war.

On the domestic front, consider that the President is granted with the authority to choose which companies will receive bailout funds created under the TARP programs. Instead of being held accountable to the Congress, which has the power of the purse as designed in Article I, the Executive branch is now vested with the power to choose economic winners and losers.

Congress, in this instance, has effectively abdicated its power of the purse to the President.

The existence of Czars inside of the Executive Branch is another grave deviation from the Constitution. These officials, which handle such important tasks as waging a “War on Drugs” and the creation of “Green Jobs” are unapproved by the U.S. Senate, as Section 2 requires that all Officers of the Executive Branch should be. These Czars are held only accountable to the President and are granted the authority to perform actions that affect millions of Americans and businesses. The existence of these Czars must have the Founding Fathers rolling in their graves.

By straying too far from the Founders vision of an executive branch that is held in check by the Legislative and Judicial branches, we are surrendering liberty in the name of security—whether or not we are any better off is for debate.

If we are to maintain the Republic that our Founders left us with, we must remember what is contained inside of the Constitution when deciding on whom to cast our votes. We must keep in mind what Benjamin Franklin said in reply when asked if we had been left with a Monarch or a Republic at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” It is our duty to make sure we keep it as the alternative is tyranny from the Executive.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com.

Copyright © 2008-2023 Americans for Limited Government