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Presidential Powers

In the United States Constitution, Article II lists the various powers held by the President of the United States of America. These powers fall into five key categories: legislative, military, judicial, executive, and diplomatic.

Presidential Powers

In terms of the legislative powers of the President, s/he has the ability to sign into law or veto legislation that is passed by Congress. The President also has the ability to suggest legislation, but s/he cannot present it for a vote in either branch of Congress. Militarily, the President is Commander in Chief of all branches of the armed forces; s/he is the highest ranking military officer in the nation. The judicial powers of the President include his/her ability to appoint judges to various levels of government, including the Supreme Court of the United States, though each of these requires confirmation of the individual by the Senate.

The President’s executive powers include appointing officials to and removing officials from various positions in the Executive Branch, including the Cabinet, but, again, confirmation by the Senate is required as a means of balancing power. Finally, the diplomatic powers of the President include his/her ability to enter into international treaties with other countries as well as appointing delegates to represent the United States with other nations and in international agencies. While many of the President’s powers give him/her great authority in the United States, the Founders ensured there would be a system of checks and balances that required the Senate to approve most of the President’s actions before they could become finalized.

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