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62. Compensation of the President. — The President's salary is determined by Congress, but the amount may be neither in. creased nor diminished during the period for which he is elected. From 1789 until 1873, the beginning of Grant's second term, the salary of the President was $25,000; from the latter date until 1909, $50,000; since 1909 his salary has been
THE EXECUTIVE OFFICES, SHOWING THE WHITE HOUSE TO THE RIGHT.
The room with the bay window is the President's office; the rooms to the left are occupied by the Secretary to the President, and those to the right are the cabinet rooms.
$75,000 a year, plus $25,000 or as much thereof as needed for travelling expenses, and the use of the Executive Mansion, commonly called “ The White House.” 1
1 Other appropriations made in connection with the presidential office for 1912–1913 were: For Executive Mansion (1) care, repair, horses, vehicles, etc., $35,000; (2) fuel for Mansion, greenhouses, and stables, $6000; (3) lighting, $8600; (4) grounds, $5000; (5) greenhouses, $12,000; oil portrait of Taft for Mansion, $4000. For Executive Office (1) secretary, clerks, stenographers, etc., $72,056; (2) contingent expenses, $25,000. For the President's protection, an indefinite amount.
63. Duties and Powers of the President. In order that the President may perform the various duties which the Constitution, acts of Congress, treaties, and customs place upon him, he has to have corresponding powers. As the head of the executive branch of government it is his duty to see that the Constitution, laws and treaties, and decisions of the federal courts are enforced. To perform this duty he has been given power to appoint and dismiss thousands of officers;
command the army and navy; call extra sessions of Congress, recommend proper legislation, and veto improper bills. The sum total of his powers is much greater than that of many constitutional monarchs.
An aggressive President who becomes party leader or a national hero can greatly increase his powers by a loose construction of the Constitution. During the Civil War Congress permitted Lincoln to become practically a dictator. He issued a proclamation suspending the writ of habeas corpus, which Congress subsequently legalized. He also issued the emancipation proclamations of 1862 and 1863, declaring all slaves in the insurgent States to be thenceforth free; and he forced through the thirteenth amendment in 1865 legalizing the same. Though the President cannot declare war he can at any time bring on war by ordering the army into foreign territory, or by managing foreign affairs in such a manner that a foreign nation will become the aggressor.
64. Power of Appointment. — The Constitution provides that the President “ 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
1 The officers whose appointments are “otherwise provided for" are the President, Vice-President, Electors, Senators, Representatives, and Officers of the Senate and House of Representatives.
President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of the departments.”
The United States has on its pay-roll three quarters of a million persons. Excluding those in the military and naval service, there remain nearly 550,000 in the executive civil service of the United States. Of these the President unaided appoints very few; the President and the Senate appoint about 16,000 of the most important; about 365,000 are selected by civil service competitive examinations; and the remainder, many of whom are laborers, are appointed directly or indirectly by cabinet officers. But because the cabinet officers are themselves dependent upon the President, he can influence many of these appointments if he desires.
The President alone appoints his private secretary, who in turn appoints his subordinates; and with a few unimportant exceptions, e.g. during the administrations of Johnson and Grant, the Senate has always approved cabinet officers appointed by a President. For special reasons Congress has from time to time provided that certain officers, such as the Librarian of Congress, shall be appointed by the President alone.
The President with the consent of the Senate appoints the most important officers. For the positions to be filled within a congressional district, the President usually confers with the representative from that district if he is of the same party; for the more important, the senators will be consulted. When the Senate receives the names of persons selected for positions, it refers them to the appropriate standing committee; and the committee confers with the senators of the State from which the nominee comes, provided the senators are of the President's party. Under the practice known as “senatorial courtesy the Senate will ratify only those appointments which are approved by the senators (of the President's party) from the State in which the offices in question are to be filled.
1 Courts of law appoint clerks, reporters, and other minor ministerial officers.
2 This class includes such officers as ambassadors, ministers, and consuls; federal judges; most military and naval officers; cabinet officers and their immediate subordinates; the Treasurer of the United States; the Comptroller of the Currency; superintendents of mints; commissioners of internal revenue; collectors of customs and internal revenue; interstate commerce commissioners; commissioners of patents; commissioners of pensions; pension agents; Indian agents; district attorneys and marshals; territorial governors; and postmasters of the first, second, and third classes (any postmaster whose salary is $1000 or more). See footnote to Sec. 90.
The Civil Service Commission examines for the President or other appointing officials more than 365,000 persons from whom appointments are made according to civil service rules.1
Heads of Departments directly or indirectly appoint about 150,000 employees without civil service examinations. The greater number of these are skilled or unskilled laborers.
Term of Officers. — Most of the important officials are appointed for four years. The cabinet officers are appointed to serve during the pleasure of the President, and in practice always resign when a new President enters office. The terms of minor officers and laborers vary, and persons who enter the civil service through competitive examinations hold office for an indefinite term.
Power of Removal. The President may remove without the consent of the Senate any officer whom he appoints alone or in conjunction with the Senate, except judges, who may be removed by impeachment only, and military and naval officers in time of peace, when they may be removed by court-martial only. His
power to remove officers may not be restricted by Congress 3 and may be employed for political purposes as well as for ridding the service of incompetent and unfit persons. Those who have entered office through competitive examinations may be removed or reduced for any cause which will promote the efficiency of the service; but like penalties are imposed for like offences, and no political or religious discrimination is shown.
1 This class includes most of the clerks in Washington, four classes of postmasters, first and second class post-office clerks, railway mail clerks, letter carriers, rural free-delivery men, and employees in the Indian service, custom houses, revenue service, and the government printing office.
2 Four years is the term for territorial judges and governors, marsha'. district attorneys, customs collectors, pension agents, indian agents, and chiefs of many bureaus.
8 The Tenure of Office Act of 1867 required the consent of the Senate for the removal of an officer whose appointment had to be approved by the Penate. This act was aimed at President Johnson and was finally repealed in 1886. Though the Supreme Court has never passed upon this law it is considered to have been unconstitutional.
65. Receiving Diplomatic Representatives. - The President receives ambassadors and ministers sent to the United States. Upon an appointed day the Secretary of State escorts a new minister or ambassador to the White House, where the latter delivers a short ceremonial address to which the President responds. The minister or ambassador is then recognized as the official organ of communication between the United States government and the government represented. When the independence of a country is in doubt, or the representative is personally objectionable to the United States government, the President
refuse to receive him; and the President may request a foreign country to recall a representative, or dismiss one for conduct offensive to the government.
66. Treaty Power. — If the United States desires to enter into commercial compacts, define its boundaries, make peace, or enter into any other compacts appropriate for international agreements, the President, with the assistance of the State Department, may negotiate a treaty with the other state or states concerned. Because a treaty becomes law, the Constitution provides that a vote of two thirds of the Senate present is necessary before the treaty may be signed by the representatives of the United States government.1
1 As a treaty is merely a law, Congress may repeal it by passing a law contrary to its provisions; or an existing law may be repealed by the terms of a treaty. In other words, when a treaty and a law of Congress conflict a court will consider the one last enacted to be the law. A treaty which is contrary to the Constitution is void, but the courts have, as yet, never declared one to be contrary to the Constitution.
Money cannot be appropriated by a treaty, but in practice whenever the