The presence of certain words, phrases, and clauses within the United States Constitution has created a prosperous 238 year-old nation at the forefront of many global organizations, treaties, and negotiations. The President’s grant of “executive Power”, although only a succinct set of words, is definitely included in these necessary and critical phrases that have had an important impact on the United States. With this being said, this clause’s importance is now seen in a dramatically different light as it is more apparent today than ever that the President possesses an incredible amount of power. This expansion of power is evident in the 19 executive orders, memoranda, and actions President Donald Trump has signed in his first two weeks as President of the United States. However, before Mr. Trump became President, there were 44 others that utilized this doctrine in order to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”.
It has been noted since the Constitution’s creation that the executive’s power has increased drastically. In recent years, the number of executive orders, permitted by the Executive Power Clause, per year, for each president, has decreased. However, this number hit an all-time high during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency at 291 orders per year. Although deemed necessary for the state of the country during this tumultuous time, the number of executive orders signed by Roosevelt was absurd. His power seemed unbounded for some time prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling on some of his measures, including the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) and the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA). This is not the only example of Presidents exercising their “executive Power”. In April of 1952, President Truman authored an executive order forcing his Secretary of Commerce at the time, Charles Sawyer, to take control of and manage the majority of the United States’ steel mills in order to avoid the large scale and long term effects of rioting steelworkers. In the case, Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company v. Sawyer, the Supreme Court ruled that the President over-stepped his boundaries in issuing this executive order as he is not a lawmaker, rather, an enforcer of the law. This example displays the President’s authority being restricted by the Supreme Court. The Judicial Branch is the only branch of government that can truly check the President’s ability to enforce executive orders, actions, and mandates. Alternatively, the Legislative Branch has little to no authority as lawmakers have no measures to check the President’s power in this situation. For example, President Donald Trump is thought to have exploited his power since taking office on January 20. His travel ban on countries, including Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan, has caused quite an uproar among the American public and legislators. Revolts and protests have plagued the United States for many days now as a result of President Trump’s actions. However, a Federal District Court in Seattle blocked his executive order, stopping the travel ban and permitting refugees and travelers to enter the United States. This shows the power of the court over the President and the wide-spread influence of the court. Additionally, the court’s decision also shows the extent of time it takes for a case to be brought up to the Supreme Court, as James Robart is merely a Federal level judge administering a District Court. These examples display the evolution of the “executive Power” outlined in the Constitution, focusing on the immense power garnered from this clause and the court’s authority to overturn executive orders.
The criteria for choosing the most important part of the Constitution is quite simple. Which clause, section, or amendment has a large impact but is not necessarily in line with the democratic principles set forth by the Founding Fathers? This question is easily answered by the Executive Power Clause. The clause allows for the President to create law without the people voting or having input on the issue at hand. Furthermore, the executive order, action, or mandate created by the President is extremely difficult to overturn. This portion of the Constitution has had an impactful presence throughout the history of the United States and it will continue to have an impact so long as the Supreme Court, or any Federal Court for that matter, does not declare the Executive Power Clause unconstitutional. In years to come, the President may exercise his “executive Power” to create law without the approval of the Legislative Branch as divided government has been a reoccurring issue within the government. He may also use this power in order to avoid forcing politicians to vote on controversial issues that could affect their political image. In this way, the “executive Power” outlined in the Constitution will continue to have a lasting influence over American politics just as it has over the last 238 years.