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Executive Power


Deliberation Question

Should the President be able to exercise executive powers as identified in the “take care” clause during times of Congressional gridlock?



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Historical Perspective

Presidential Powers and the Constitution (3:16:06)

Legal scholars testified on the constitutionality of some of President Obama’s uses of executive branch powers. They focused on the administration’s one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, the Justice Department’s decision to not prosecute some drug cases, and the president’s decision allowing work permits for some immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children.
The Background

Congressional gridlock in 2013 led the 113th Congress to pass the fewest substantial and ceremonial bills in recent history (Pew). Various polls stated that 85% of the American people disapproved of how the 113th Congress was doing its job (Link).

In President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address, he stated that he would take action on issues without Congress. Some House Republicans responded on January 29, 2014 introducing H.R. 3973, the Faithful Execution of the Law Act and again on March 6, 2014 introducing H.R. 4138 Enforce the Law Act. On March 13, the Republican-led House passed H.R. 4138 which seeks to allow Congress to sue the President in the event the executive branch is violating the "take care" clause of the Constitution.

The Constitution states that the President of the United States “shall make sure that laws are faithfully executed.” Some claim that the “take care” power is given to the President to act quickly and on more administrative tasks than Congress, leading to more effective governing. Others say the “take care” clause is making the Presidency stronger than was intended by the Framers, overreaching into Congress’ lawmaking powers and weakening the checks and balances system.


Background Videos
Pres. Obama (0:37)



Background Articles


Cornell Legal Information Institute
Overview of Executive Power in the Constitution

Scholastic Magazine
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C-SPAN Classroom,
Mar 18, 2014, 6:45 AM
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C-SPAN Classroom,
Mar 18, 2014, 6:45 AM
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C-SPAN Classroom,
Mar 18, 2014, 6:45 AM
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C-SPAN Classroom,
Mar 18, 2014, 6:46 AM
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C-SPAN Classroom,
Mar 19, 2014, 12:06 PM