Article III: The Executive Branch

Article III: The Executive Branch

Section 1 – The President and Vice President

1.1 The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He/she shall hold office for a four-year term, and, together with the Vice President chosen for the same term, be elected[1] in accordance with Article VI – Elections.[2]

1.2 Eligibility for the offices of President and Vice President:[3] Upon taking office, both the President and the Vice President must be

  • At least 35 years old,
  • A natural-born citizen of the United States,
  • At least 14 years a resident within the United States, and
  • Less than 6 years the President of the United States.

1.3 Lack of a qualified President elect: If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified.[4] If neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall become the Acting President, and the first duty of the Acting President shall be to arrange for new presidential elections as soon as practicable, or to pursue whatever actions are necessary to qualify the President elect or the Vice President elect; but the Acting President shall also carry out all the duties of the President until a properly-elected President or Vice President shall have qualified.[5]

1.4 Vacancy in the office of President or Vice President:[6]

  1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
  2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both chambers of Congress.
  3. Whenever the President transmits to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
  4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both chambers that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

1.5 Duties of the Vice President: The Vice President, as provided in Article II, is the presiding officer of the Senate. He is also a member of the President’s Cabinet and shall carry out such other lawful duties as the President may direct.[7]

1.6 Compensation: At stated times the President and the Vice President[8] shall receive for their services a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which they shall have been elected, and they shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States or any of them.[9]

1.7 Oath of Office[10]: Before the President enters on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend this Constitution II of the United States.”

Section 2 – Civilian Power over Military; the Cabinet, Pardon Power, and Appointments

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.[11]

As Commander in Chief, the President may order the use of military force in a war properly declared by Congress in accordance with Article II Section 8. In the absence of a declaration of war, the President may employ military force to defend the United States or its allies, or for such other purposes as the President deems necessary in the national interest of the United States, provided that the President notifies Congress within 48 hours of the beginning of such a military operation, and provided also that Congress approves of such use within 60 days after such a military operation commences.[12]

He shall have Power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint Justices of the Supreme Court, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;[13] and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, federal judges of inferior courts, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.[14]

In all cases of presidential nominations, if the Senate fails to approve or disapprove a nomination within 60 calendar days after the President has made the nomination, the President may appoint the nominee, and the nominee may temporarily assume the position to which he was nominated, pending Senate action on that nomination. Such temporary appointments expire when the Senate acts, or when a new Congress convenes, whichever comes first.[15]

The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess or adjournment of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.[16]

Section 3 – State of the Union, and Convening Congress

He shall from time to time give to the Congress information on the state of the Union, and recommend for their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both chambers, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.[17]

In carrying out his responsibility to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”, the President may issue Executive Orders which have the same effect as the law upon which the Executive Order is based, provided that any Executive Order will have an effective date not less than thirty days from its issuance, and provided further that either chamber by majority vote taken during that 30-day waiting period may prevent any Executive Order from coming into effect.[18]

Section 4 – Disqualification [19]

The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

[1] Copied from the 1787 Constitution, Article II Section 1.

[2] All election procedures in Constitution II appear in Article VI.

[3] Adapted from the 1787 Constitution, Article II Section 1 and Amendment 12. One eligibility requirement has been deleted, namely, the requirement that the president and the vice president reside in different states. Since the election of the president has been completely separated from the election of the vice president, but both elections occur at the same time, we cannot know ahead of time which state the winning candidate in either the presidential or the vice presidential contest will come from.

[4] Copied from the 1787 Constitution, Amendment 20.

[5] This is a new provision, which provides an elected official with a national mandate (the Speaker of the House) as a caretaker president, until a properly-elected president can assume the office.

[6] The remainder of this section is copied from the 1787 Constitution, Amendment 25.

[7] This provides additional specificity to the duties of the vice president.

[8] Both the president and the vice president shall be compensated for their service.

[9] Copied from the 1787 Constitution, Article II Section 1.

[10] Copied from the 1787 Constitution, Article II Section 1.

[11] This provision is copied from the 1787 Constitution, Article II Section 2.

[12] This provision codifies the Authorized Use of Military Force doctrine within Constitution II.

[13] Lifetime appointment of a Supreme Court justice is a matter that should be carefully considered and receive the approval of two-thirds of the Senate. In the past, this notion has been imposed by the use or threatened use of the filibuster, but since the filibuster is eliminated in Constitution II, it is advisable to require a two-thirds majority for Supreme Court appointments.

[14] Except for the clause in italics, this provision is copied from the 1787 Constitution, Article II Section 2.

[15] Senate inaction on presidential nominations has become habitual, ordinary, and utterly ridiculous in terms of the smooth functioning of Government. This is especially (but not only) true of the judiciary. The federal judicial system cannot function without adequate judges on the bench. This provision ensures that nominees will be approved or disapproved within two months of their nomination, or they will be allowed to serve without Senate confirmation.

[16] This provision is copied from the 1787 Constitution, Article II Section 2. The words “or adjournment” were added.

[17] Copied from the 1787 Constitution, Article II Section 3.

[18] This new provision allows the President to issue Executive Orders with 30-day advance notice to Congress, but also allows either chamber of Congress to block an EO during that 30-day waiting period. The purpose is to restore some balance between unbounded presidential power and a Congress that refuses to act. With this new provision, the President has the authority he needs, while congress has the authority to limit the President. No longer will Congress be able to hide. If both chambers allow an EO to be implemented, then they must share some degree of ownership with that EO. These are new ideas: Executive Orders were not addressed in the 1787 Constitutionj.

[19] Copied from the 1787 Constitution, Article II Section 4.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *