There Are No Effective Checks On Presidential Power. Discuss

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There Are No Effective Checks On Presidential Power

The exercise of Presidential power requires agreement from another branch of Government, usually the legislature. The main exception to this principle is the President’s role as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces because with over 3000 miles of ocean between the USA and its potential enemies, it was not expected that this would be a significant role when the Constitution was written. While there is a check on this power, since only Congress can declare war, the strength of this check is questionable as the President can deploy troops for a total of 60 days before getting Congressional approval. In addition to this, despite the fact that Congress has declared war just 5 times, the last being after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour, the US military has been in almost constant use in overseas conflicts, including Vietnam War and Iraq. Hence the lack of an effective check  on Presidential power in this area.

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Furthermore, the Senate is required to ratify Presidential treaties which requires a two thirds majority, something that is fairly difficult. Without ratification, the treaty cannot be incorporated into US law. During the twentieth century, the Senate rejected seven treaties, one of which was in 1999, when the Senate rejected the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  Yet, successive presidents have circumvented this by signing executive agreements with the heads of foreign governments; these do not require the consent of the Senate. Subsequently, it can be claimed that while there are checks in place, they are not entirely successful.


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