Executive Power

Executive Power

This unit in the No. 86 video series explores a host of questions relating to the scope of Executive Power, from the time of the Founding to modern-day debates on that question.

The lack of an Executive was a key weakness of the Articles of Confederation, but our Framers, knowing the danger of executive power as exercised by King George III, were reluctant to vest too much power in one office. What were their biggest fears?  How does the American Executive borrow and break from the power of the King of England?

We have heard of the impious doctrine in the old world, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the new, in another shape…?

-Federalist No. 45

This unit also explores the core purpose and function of the Executive, including how the power of the President fits into the separation of powers.

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6 of 13: What is the Constitutional Power of Presidential Appointments? [No. 86]

Why did the Founding Fathers split up appointment power in the Appointments Clause of the US Constitution? In 18th century England, the King had the power to both create new offices and appoint people to fill those offices. Concerned about the abuse ... Why did the Founding Fathers split up appointment power in the Appointments Clause of the US Constitution? In 18th century England, the King had the power to both create new offices and appoint people to fill those offices. Concerned about the abuse of power, the Founding Fathers gave Congress the power to create departments and offices, and the President the power to appoint people to those offices.

The Appointments Clause places important limits on both creating and appointing officers, and the people subject to the Appointments Clause requirements are known as officers of the United States.

Jennifer Mascott is an Assistant Professor of Law at the Antonin Scalia Law School. Professor Mascott writes in the areas of administrative and constitutional law.

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As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

These videos were filmed when Jennifer Mascott was a professor at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School. Her views are entirely her own.

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