Trump On Ordering States To Reopen For Business: The Authority Of The President Of The United States Is “Total”
REPORTER: In regard to some of your tweets earlier today, what provision in the Constitution gives the president the power to open or close state economies?
TRUMP: "Numerous — numerous provisions. We can give you a legal brief if you want." (He never named one.) pic.twitter.com/nMzmbgEGYJ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 13, 2020
There isn’t one and that is clear. There is NO provision or clause in the US Constitution that allows him to even claim such Powers (he can SAY that he does but cannot claim what isn’t his). In reading Article I of the Constitution, there is the Oath clause that limits him to only make sure that Federal law is followed:
“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 the Constitution of the United States.” Hmm, no emergency Powers in that. And then the Office of the President gets a bit more limited in scope:
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy 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.
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; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the 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.
The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.
Here, he only has the Power to do seven enumerated items. Not TOTAL. And Section 3 further limits his actions:
He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, 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.
Which adds five more. And no more. The only other places in which he MAY derive more Powers is by the Legislature (House and Congress) in crafting some bill. The Tenth Amendment, however, cuts off additional Powers of the Federal Government which Trump is currently the Chief Executive:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
As Ian has been pointing out for quite some time with respect to the Constitution, while WE may see the clear black and white of the Constitution, believe that we understand the Spirit of the Constitution, read the Founders writings upon our then nascent Nation about the Constitution, and understand that the Constitution should be a barrier for both the President and Legislature in writing and executing Law, it really is the Judges that decide (and boy, is Norm is STILL steamed that the Judiciary has decided that non-citizens can vote in American elections).
But no, Trump’s Power as POTUS is not total and, in effect, is enumeratedly limited (although he DOES have vast Powers within that Constitutional fencing with, again, much of that arising from Legislation passed.
So, I’m still catching up and this was one thing I needed to get caught up.