checks and constraints of the presidency

Checks and Constraints of the Presidency

You have studied how the legislative and judicial branches of government have a wide variety of checks that they can utilize to constrain the power of the president.

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However, the framers of the U.S. Constitution also invested within the presidency a wide arsenal of tools. These tools allow the executive branch to effectively block the policymaking powers of other branches of government. As the Learning Resources indicate, even the threat of a veto from the White House is often enough to greatly influence discussions, compromises, and working sessions regarding legislation for one simple reason: It is extremely difficult for the Congress to muster a two-thirds majority to override a presidential veto. Therefore, the very threat of such a veto is often enough to motivate lawmakers to change course or to integrate important considerations of the president.

While there are many checks and balances between the different branches of the federal government, the extent to which they are used depends upon the individuals who occupy offices in Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Oval Office.

Consider how the powers and constraints of the executive branch may influence the policymaking ability of the president. Think about how the powers of the presidency might serve as a check on the policymaking activities of the legislative and judicial branches of government.

The Executive Branch, best exemplified in the person of the president, saw its power grow considerably in the 20th century. Consider the scope of those powers and the degree to which the other two branches of government have constrained the reach of the Executive Branch in recent years.

Select one constraint and one power of the executive branch (presidency). Then analyze the impact of each on the policymaking powers of the legislative and judicial branches.

The Assignment 1-1.5 pages must include:

  • an explanation of one constraint on the policymaking powers of the presidency.
  • Then explain one power that allows the executive branch to serve as a check on the policymaking powers of the legislative and judicial branches.
  • Provide and analyze an example of a recent policy decision (The “Muslim Ban” is a good example) that illustrates either a constraint on the power of the executive branch or a check on the powers of the other branches.

Resources that will be provided and must be used!

Anderson, J. E. (2015). Public policymaking: An introduction (8th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

  • Chapter 2, “The Policy-Makers and Their Environment” (pp. 41–60)
  • Chapter 4, “Policy Adoption” (pp. 161–179)

Jacobson, G. C. (2011). Legislative success and political failure: The public’s reaction to Barack Obama’s early presidency. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 41(2), 220–243.

The American Presidency Project

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014). The Legislative Process [Interactive Media]. Baltimore, MD: Author.