In Article II Sections 2 and 3 of the American Constitution, the formal power of the President encompasses several duties and responsibilities which include being the commander in chief of the armed forces; granting reprieves and pardons, except on the cases of impeachment; making treaties as approved by two-thirds majority of the Senate; appointing Supreme Court Justices and ambassadors with the approval of the Senate; convening congress to special sessions; receiving ambassadors; and ensuring that the laws are faithfully executed.
In addition, the President is also given the power to veto a legislation passed by the Congress as found in Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution. Although the President is considered as the most powerful politician in a federal form of the government, his or her power can be still subjected to a system of checks and balances. The Congress and Supreme Court, which act as the legislative and judicial branches of the government can check the president’s power in the areas of making treaties and declaring a war, a power which was given to the Congress.
In addition, the Congress and the Supreme Court can override a president’s veto and to remove him or her from office due to constitutional, administrative or criminal offense (Gershman 19-27). However, on the case of former President George W. Bush when the United States was bombarded by a terrorism attack – the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2000 – it was perceived that the President had overridden the power of both the legislative and judicial branches of the government.
Following the September 11 terrorism attack, Bush issued numerous unilateral executive orders which include “the institution of the Secretary of Homeland Security and a Homeland Security Council; lifting of Gerald Ford’s directive against political assassinations by the CIA, freezing of financial assets linked to suspected terrorist networks, launching of a military strike against Afghanistan, and creating of a new court system that allowed military tribunals to try non-citizens in specific circumstances” (Majdik 532-534).
Although those actions seem to be necessary to maintain security and status quo, the president failed to subject those orders on the usual and formal processes of deliberation both in the judicial and legislative branches of the government. On the part of the legislative and judicial branches, they failed to check on the power of the president during this dangerous and sensitive situation which resulted in the U. S. declaration of War against Afghanistan.
The orders executed by the president were “direct, unilateral, executive decisions;” thus the, checks and balances power of the other two government branches was undermined (Majdik 534). As for me, although Bush has made right orders and proper action to secure the status quo and the safety of his constituents, still he should have consulted both the legislative and the judicial branches of the government. The war on terrorism was not an issue that concerns the president alone, rather it is an issue that covers all the United States’ government systems, components and constituents. Analyzing the actions of the U.
S. government on countering terrorism, the judicial and legislative branches failed to perform their duty of checking the president’s power on that state of war. Moreover, the president, though he thinks that a unilateral, directive and executive decision must be made, also failed to constitutionally perform his duty. Works Cited Gershman, Gary P. The Legislative Branch of Federal Government: People, process, and Politics. ABC-CLIO, 2008. Majdik, Zoltan P. “Power without Persuasion: Thje Politics of Direct Presidential Action (review). ” Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 8 (2005): 532-534.