Article Three of the United States Constitution
Article Three of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal government. Under Article Three, the judicial branch consists of the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as lower courts created by Congress. Article Three empowers the courts to handle cases or controversies arising under federal law, as well as other enumerated areas. Article Three defines treason. Section 1 of Article Three vests the judicial power of the United States in the Supreme Court, as well as inferior courts established by Congress. Along with the Vesting Clauses of Article One and Article Two, Article Three's Vesting Clause establishes the separation of powers between the three branches of government. Section 1 does not require it. Section 1 establishes that federal judges do not face term limits, that an individual judge's salary may not be decreased. Article Three does not set the size of the Supreme Court or establish specific positions on the court, but Article One establishes the position of chief justice.
Section 2 of Article Three delineates federal judicial power. The Case or Controversy Clause restricts the judiciary's power to actual cases and controversies, meaning that federal judicial power does not extend to cases which are hypothetical, or which are proscribed due to standing, mootness, or ripeness issues. Section 2 states that federal judiciary's power extends to cases arising under the Constitution, federal laws, federal treaties, controversies involving multiple states or foreign powers, other enumerated areas. Section 2 gives the Supreme Court original jurisdiction when ambassadors, public officials, or the states are a party in the case, leaving the Supreme Court with appellate jurisdiction in all other areas to which the federal judiciary's jurisdiction extends. Section 2 gives Congress the power to strip the Supreme Court of appellate jurisdiction, establishes that all federal crimes must be tried before a jury. Section 2 does not expressly grant the federal judiciary the power of judicial review, but the courts have exercised this power since the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison.
Section 3 of Article Three empowers Congress to punish treason. Section 3 requires that at least two witnesses testify to the treasonous act, or that the individual accused of treason confesses, it limits the ways in which Congress can punish those convicted of treason. Section 1 vests the judicial power of the United States in federal courts, requires a supreme court, allows inferior courts, requires good behavior tenure for judges, prohibits decreasing the salaries of judges; the judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office. Article III authorizes one Supreme Court, but does not set the number of justices that must be appointed to it. Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 refers to a Chief Justice.
Since 1869 the number of justices has been fixed at nine: one chief justice, eight associate justices. Proposals have been made at various times for organizing the Supreme Court into separate panels. However, in a 1937 letter, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote, "the Constitution does not appear to authorize two or more Supreme Courts functioning in effect as separate courts."The Supreme Court is the only federal court, explicitly established by the Constitution. During the Constitutional Convention, a proposal was made for the Supreme Court to be the only federal court, having both original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction; this proposal was rejected in favor of the provision. Under this provision, the Congress may create inferior courts under both Article III, Section 1, Article I, Section 8; the Article III courts, which are known as "constitutional courts", were first created by the Judiciary Act of 1789, are the only courts with judicial power. Article I courts, which are known as "legislative courts", consist of regulatory agencies, such as the United States Tax Court.
In certain types of cases, Article III courts may exercise appellate jurisdiction over Article I courts. In Murray's Lessee v. Hoboken Land & Improvement Co. the Court held that "there are legal matters, involving public rights, which may be presented in such form that the judicial power is capable of acting on them," and which are susceptible to review by an Article III court. In Ex parte Bakelite Corp. the Court declared that Article I courts "may be created as special tribunals to examine and determine various matters, arising between the government and others, which from their nature do not require judicial determination and yet are susceptible of it." Other cases, such as bankruptcy cases, have been held not to involve judicial determination, may therefore go before Article I courts. Several courts in the District of Columbia, under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress, are Article I courts rather than Article III courts; this article was expressly extended to the United States District Court for
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first constitution. It was approved, after much debate, by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, sent to the states for ratification; the Articles of Confederation came into force on March 1, 1781, after being ratified by all 13 states. A guiding principle of the Articles was to preserve the sovereignty of the states; the weak central government established by the Articles received only those powers which the former colonies had recognized as belonging to king and parliament. The Articles formed a war-time confederation of states, with an limited central government. While unratified, the document was used by the Congress to conduct business, direct the American Revolutionary War, conduct diplomacy with foreign nations, deal with territorial issues and Native American relations; the adoption of the Articles made few perceptible changes in the federal government, because it did little more than legalize what the Continental Congress had been doing.
That body was renamed the Congress of the Confederation. As the Confederation Congress attempted to govern the continually growing American states, delegates discovered that the limitations placed upon the central government rendered it ineffective at doing so; as the government's weaknesses became apparent after Shays' Rebellion, some prominent political thinkers in the fledgling US began asking for changes to the Articles. Their hope was to create a stronger national government; some states met to deal with their trade and economic problems. However, as more states became interested in meeting to change the Articles, a meeting was set in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787; this became the Constitutional Convention. It was agreed that changes would not work, instead the entire Articles needed to be replaced. On March 4, 1789, the government under the Articles was replaced with the federal government under the Constitution; the new Constitution provided for a much stronger federal government by establishing a chief executive and taxing powers.
The political push to increase cooperation among the then-loyal colonies began with the Albany Congress in 1754 and Benjamin Franklin's proposed Albany Plan, an inter-colonial collaboration to help solve mutual local problems. Over the next two decades, some of the basic concepts it addressed would strengthen. With civil disobedience resulting in coercive and quelling measures, the passage of what the colonials referred to as the intolerable acts in the English Parliament, armed skirmishes which resulted in dissidents being proclaimed rebels; these actions eroded the number of Crown Loyalists (aka Tories amongst the colonials and together with the effective propaganda campaign of the Patriot leaders, they caused an increasing number of colonists to begin agitating for independence from the mother country. In 1775, with events outpacing communications, the Second Continental Congress began acting as the provisional government that would run the American Revolutionary War and gain the colonies their collective independence.
It was an era of constitution writing—most states were busy at the task—and leaders felt the new nation must have a written constitution. During the war, Congress exercised an unprecedented level of political, diplomatic and economic authority, it adopted trade restrictions and maintained an army, issued fiat money, created a military code and negotiated with foreign governments. To transform themselves from outlaws into a legitimate nation, the colonists needed international recognition for their cause and foreign allies to support it. In early 1776, Thomas Paine argued in the closing pages of the first edition of Common Sense that the "custom of nations" demanded a formal declaration of American independence if any European power were to mediate a peace between the Americans and Great Britain; the monarchies of France and Spain in particular could not be expected to aid those they considered rebels against another legitimate monarch. Foreign courts needed to have American grievances laid before them persuasively in a "manifesto" which could reassure them that the Americans would be reliable trading partners.
Without such a declaration, Paine concluded, "he custom of all courts is against us, will be so, until, by an independence, we take rank with other nations."Beyond improving their existing association, the records of the Second Continental Congress show that the need for a declaration of independence was intimately linked with the demands of international relations. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution before the Continental Congress declaring the colonies independent. Congress created three overlapping committees to draft the Declaration, a Model Treaty, the Articles of Confederation; the Declaration announced the states' entry into the international system. On June 12, 1776
James Madison Jr. was an American statesman, diplomat and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the United States Constitution and the United States Bill of Rights, he co-wrote The Federalist Papers, co-founded the Democratic-Republican Party, served as the fifth United States Secretary of State from 1801 to 1809. Born into a prominent Virginia planting family, Madison served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and the Continental Congress during and after the American Revolutionary War, he became dissatisfied with the weak national government established by the Articles of Confederation and helped organize the Constitutional Convention, which produced a new constitution to supplant the Articles of Confederation. Madison's Virginia Plan served as the basis for the Constitutional Convention's deliberations, he was one of the most influential individuals at the convention.
Madison became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify the Constitution, he joined with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay in writing The Federalist Papers, a series of pro-ratification essays, considered to be one of the most influential works of political science in American history. After the ratification of the Constitution, Madison emerged as an important leader in the United States House of Representatives and served as a close adviser to President George Washington, he was the main force behind the ratification of the United States Bill of Rights, which enshrines guarantees of personal freedoms and rights within the Constitution. During the early 1790s, Madison came to oppose the economic program and accompanying centralization of power favored by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Along with Thomas Jefferson, Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party, which was, alongside Hamilton's Federalist Party, one of the nation's first major political parties. After Jefferson won the 1800 presidential election, Madison served as Secretary of State from 1801 to 1809.
In that position, he supervised the Louisiana Purchase. Madison succeeded Jefferson with a victory in the 1808 presidential election. After diplomatic protests and a trade embargo failed to end British attacks against American shipping, he led the United States into the War of 1812; the war was an administrative morass and ended inconclusively, but many Americans saw it as a successful "second war of independence" against Britain. The war convinced Madison of the necessity of a stronger federal government, he presided over the creation of the Second Bank of the United States and the enactment of the protective Tariff of 1816, he retired from public office in 1817 and died in 1836. He is considered to be one of the most important Founding Fathers of the United States, historians have ranked Madison as an above-average president. James Madison Jr. was born on March 16, 1751, at Belle Grove Plantation near Port Conway, Virginia, to James Madison Sr. and Nelly Conway Madison. He grew up as the oldest of twelve children, with seven brothers and four sisters, though only six of his siblings would live to adulthood.
His father was a tobacco planter who grew up on a plantation called Mount Pleasant, which he had inherited upon reaching adulthood. With numerous slaves and a 5,000 acres plantation, Madison's father was the largest landowner and a leading citizen in the Piedmont. Madison's maternal grandfather was a prominent tobacco merchant. In the early 1760s, the Madison family moved into a newly built house. From age 11 to 16, Madison was sent to study under Donald Robertson, a Scottish instructor who served as a tutor for a number of prominent planter families in the South. Madison learned mathematics and modern and classical languages—he became proficient in Latin. At age 16, Madison returned to Montpelier, where he began a two-year course of study under the Reverend Thomas Martin in preparation for college. Unlike most college-bound Virginians of his day, Madison did not attend the College of William and Mary, where the lowland Williamsburg climate - thought to be more to harbor infectious disease - might have strained his delicate health.
Instead, in 1769, he enrolled at the College of New Jersey. His studies at Princeton included Latin, Greek and the works of the Enlightenment. Great emphasis was placed on both debate. Along with another classmate, Madison undertook an intense program of study and completed Princeton's three-year bachelor of arts degree in just two years, graduating in 1771, he remained at Princeton to study Hebrew and political philosophy under President John Witherspoon before returning home to Montpelier in early 1772. His ideas on philosophy and morality were shaped by Witherspoon, who converted Madison to the philosophy and modes of thinking of the Age of Enlightenment. Biographer Terence Ball says that at Princeton: He was immersed in the liberalism of the Enlightenment, converted to eighteenth-century political radicalism. From on James Madison's theories would advance the rights of happiness of man, his most active efforts would serve devotedly the cause of civil and political liberty. After returning to Montpelier, who had not yet decided on a specific career, served as a tutor to his younger siblings.
In the early 1770s the relationship between the American colonies a
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. It prohibits unreasonable seizures. In addition, it sets requirements for issuing warrants: warrants must be issued by a judge or magistrate, justified by probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, must describe the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. Fourth Amendment case law deals with three main issues: what government activities are "searches" and "seizures," what constitutes probable cause to conduct searches and seizures, how violations of Fourth Amendment rights should be addressed. Early court decisions limited the amendment's scope to physical intrusion of property or persons, but with Katz v. United States, the Supreme Court held that its protections extend to intrusions on the privacy of individuals as well as to physical locations. A warrant is needed for most search and seizure activities, but the Court has carved out a series of exceptions for consent searches, motor vehicle searches, evidence in plain view, exigent circumstances, border searches, other situations.
The exclusionary rule is one way. Established in Weeks v. United States, this rule holds that evidence obtained as a result of a Fourth Amendment violation is inadmissible at criminal trials. Evidence discovered as a result of an illegal search may be inadmissible as "fruit of the poisonous tree", unless it would have been discovered by legal means; the Fourth Amendment was adopted in response to the abuse of the writ of assistance, a type of general search warrant issued by the British government, a major source of tension in pre-Revolutionary America. The Fourth Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1789 by James Madison, along with the other amendments in the Bill of Rights, in response to Anti-Federalist objections to the new Constitution. Congress submitted the amendment to the states on September 28, 1789. By December 15, 1791, the necessary three-fourths of the states had ratified it. On March 1, 1792, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson announced that it was part of the Constitution.
Because the Bill of Rights did not apply to state or local governments, federal criminal investigations were less common in the first century of the nation's history, there is little significant case law for the Fourth Amendment before the 20th century. The amendment was held to apply to state and local governments in Mapp v. Ohio via the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, describing the place to be searched, the persons or things to be seized. Like many other areas of American law, the Fourth Amendment finds its roots in English legal doctrine. In Semayne's case, Sir Edward Coke famously stated: "The house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence as for his repose." Semayne's Case acknowledged that the King did not have unbridled authority to intrude on his subjects' dwellings, but recognized that government agents were permitted to conduct searches and seizures under certain conditions when their purpose was lawful and a warrant had been obtained.
The 1760s saw a growth in the intensity of litigation against state officers, using general warrants, conducted raids in search of materials relating to John Wilkes's publications attacking both government policies and the King himself. The most famous of these cases involved John Entick, whose home was forcibly entered by the King's Messenger Nathan Carrington, along with others, pursuant to a warrant issued by George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax authorizing them "to make strict and diligent search for... the author, or one concerned in the writing of several weekly seditious papers entitled,'The Monitor or British Freeholder, No 257, 357, 358, 360, 373, 376, 378, 380,'" and seized printed charts and other materials. Entick filed suit in Entick v Carrington, argued before the Court of King's Bench in 1765. Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden ruled that both the search and the seizure were unlawful, as the warrant authorized the seizure of all of Entick's papers—not just the criminal ones—and as the warrant lacked probable cause to justify the search.
By holding that "ur law holds the property of every man so sacred, that no man can set his foot upon his neighbour's close without his leave", Entick established the English precedent that the executive is limited in intruding on private property by common law. Homes in Colonial America, on the other hand, did not enjoy the same sanctity as their British counterparts, because legislation had been explicitly written so as to enable enforcement of British revenue-gathering policies on customs. During what scholar William Cuddihy called the "colonial epidemic of general searches", the authorities possessed unlimited power to search for anything at any time, with little oversight. In 1756, the colony of Massachusetts barred the use of general warrants; this represented the first law in American history curtailing the use of seizure power. Its creation stemmed from the great public outcry over the Excise Act of 1754, which gave tax collectors unlimited powers to interrogate colonists concerning their use of goods subject to customs.
The act permitted the use of a general warrant known as a writ of assistance, allowing tax collectors to search the hom
Benjamin Franklin was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, political theorist, freemason, scientist, humorist, civic activist and diplomat; as a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod and the Franklin stove, among other inventions, he founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia's first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies; as the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation. Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, community spirit, self-governing institutions, opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment.
In the words of historian Henry Steele Commager, "In a Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat." To Walter Isaacson, this makes Franklin "the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become."Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing this and Poor Richard's Almanack, which he authored under the pseudonym "Richard Saunders". After 1767, he was associated with the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper, known for its revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of British policies, he pioneered and was first president of Academy and College of Philadelphia which opened in 1751 and became the University of Pennsylvania. He organized and was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Society and was elected president in 1769.
Franklin became a national hero in America as an agent for several colonies when he spearheaded an effort in London to have the Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations, his efforts proved vital for the American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions from France. He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753, having been Philadelphia postmaster for many years, this enabled him to set up the first national communications network. During the revolution, he became the first United States Postmaster General, he was active in community affairs and colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as governor of Pennsylvania, he owned and dealt in slaves but, by the 1750s, he argued against slavery from an economic perspective and became one of the most prominent abolitionists.
His colorful life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, his status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers, have seen Franklin honored more than two centuries after his death on coinage and the $100 bill and the names of many towns, educational institutions, corporations, as well as countless cultural references. Benjamin Franklin's father, Josiah Franklin, was a soaper and candlemaker. Josiah was born at Ecton, England on December 23, 1657, the son of blacksmith and farmer Thomas Franklin, Jane White. Benjamin's father and all four of his grandparents were born in England. Josiah had seventeen children with his two wives, he married his first wife, Anne Child, in about 1677 in Ecton and immigrated with her to Boston in 1683. Following her death, Josiah was married to Abiah Folger on July 9, 1689 in the Old South Meeting House by Samuel Willard. Benjamin, their eighth child, was Josiah Franklin's fifteenth tenth and last son. Abiah Folger was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on August 15, 1667, to Peter Folger, a miller and schoolteacher, his wife, Mary Morrell Folger, a former indentured servant.
She came from a Puritan family, among the first Pilgrims to flee to Massachusetts for religious freedom, when King Charles I of England began persecuting Puritans. They sailed for Boston in 1635, her father was "the sort of rebel destined to transform colonial America." As clerk of the court, he was jailed for disobeying the local magistrate in defense of middle-class shopkeepers and artisans in conflict with wealthy landowners. Ben Franklin followed in his grandfather's footsteps in his battles against the wealthy Penn family that owned the Pennsylvania Colony. Benjamin Franklin was born on Milk Street, in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706, baptized at Old South Meeting House, he was one of seventeen children born to Josiah Franklin, one of ten born by Josiah's second wife, Abiah Folger. Among Benjamin's siblings were his older brother James and his younger sister Jane. Josiah wanted Ben to attend school with the clergy, but only had enough money to send him to school for two years, he did not graduate.
Although "his parents talked of the church as a career" for Franklin, his schooling e
Oliver Ellsworth was an American lawyer, judge and diplomat. He was a framer of the United States Constitution, a United States Senator from Connecticut, the third Chief Justice of the United States. Additionally, Ellsworth received 11 electoral votes in the 1796 presidential election. Born in Windsor, Ellsworth attended the College of New Jersey where he helped found the American Whig–Cliosophic Society. In 1777, he became the state attorney for Hartford County and was selected as a delegate to the Continental Congress, serving during the American Revolutionary War, he served as a state judge during the 1780s and was selected as a delegate to the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, which produced the United States Constitution. While at the convention, Ellsworth played a role in fashioning the Connecticut Compromise between the more populous states and the less populous states, he served on the Committee of Detail, which prepared the first draft of the Constitution, but he left the convention before signing the document.
His influence helped ensure that Connecticut ratified the Constitution, he was elected as one of Connecticut's inaugural pair of Senators, serving from 1789 to 1796. He was the chief author of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which shaped the federal judiciary of the United States and established the Supreme Court's power to overturn state supreme court decisions that were contrary to the United States Constitution. Ellsworth aligned with the Federalist Party, he led the Senate passage of Hamiltonian proposals such as the Funding Act of 1790 and the Bank Bill of 1791. He advocated in favor of the United States Bill of Rights and the Jay Treaty. In 1796, after the Senate rejected the nomination of John Rutledge to serve as Chief Justice, President George Washington nominated Ellsworth to the position. Ellsworth was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, served until 1800, when he resigned due to poor health. Few cases came before the Ellsworth Court, he is chiefly remembered for his discouragement of the previous practice of seriatim opinion writing.
He served as an envoy to France from 1799 to 1800, signing the Convention of 1800 to settle the hostilities of the Quasi-War. He was succeeded as chief justice by John Marshall, he subsequently served on the Connecticut Governor's Council until his death in 1807. Ellsworth was born in Connecticut, to Capt. David and Jemima Ellsworth, he transferred to the College of New Jersey at the end of his second year. Along with William Paterson and Luther Martin he founded the "Well Meaning Club," which became the Cliosophic Society—now part of Whig-Clio, the nation's oldest college debating club, he received his A. B. degree in 1766, Phi Beta Kappa after 2 years. Soon afterward, Ellsworth turned to the law. After four years of study, he was admitted to the bar in 1771 and became a successful lawyer and politician. In 1772, Ellsworth married Abigail Wolcott, the daughter of Abigail Abbot and William Wolcott, nephew of Connecticut colonial governor Roger Wolcott, granddaughter of Abiah Hawley and William Wolcott of East Windsor, Connecticut.
They had nine children including the twins William Wolcott Ellsworth, who married Noah Webster's daughter, served in Congress and became the governor of Connecticut. Oliver Ellsworth was the grandfather of Henry L. Ellsworth's son Henry W. Ellsworth. From a slow start, Ellsworth built up a prosperous law practice. In 1777, he became Connecticut's state attorney for Hartford County; that same year, he was chosen as one of Connecticut's representatives in the Continental Congress. He served on various committees until 1783, including the Marine Committee, the Board of Treasury, the Committee of Appeals. Ellsworth was active in his state's efforts during the Revolution, having served as a member of the Committee of the Pay Table that supervised Connecticut's war expenditures. In 1777 he joined the Committee of Appeals, which can be described as a forerunner of the Federal Supreme Court. While serving on it, he participated in the Olmstead case that first brought state and federal authority into conflict.
In 1779, he assumed greater duties as a member of the Council of Safety, with the governor, controlled all military measures for the state. His first judicial service was on the Supreme Court of Errors when it was established in 1785, but he soon shifted to the Connecticut Superior Court and spent four years on its bench. Ellsworth participated in the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia as a delegate from Connecticut along with Roger Sherman and William Samuel Johnson. More than half of the 55 delegates were lawyers, eight of whom, including both Ellsworth and Sherman, had previous experience as judges conversant with legal discourse. Ellsworth took an active part in the proceedings beginning on June 20, when he proposed the use of the name the United States to identify the government under the authority of the Constitution; the words "United States" had been used in the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation as well as Thomas Paine's The American Crisis. It was Ellsworth's proposal to retain the earlier wording to sustain the emphasis on a federation rather than a single national entity.
Three weeks earlier, on May 30, 1787, Edmund Randolph of Virginia had moved to create a "national government" consisting of a supreme legislative, an executive and a ju
Article Two of the United States Constitution
Article Two of the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, which carries out and enforces federal laws. Article Two vests the power of the executive branch in the office of the President of the United States, lays out the procedures for electing and removing the president, establishes the president's powers and responsibilities. Section 1 of Article Two establishes the positions of the president and the vice president, sets the term of both offices at four years. Section 1's Vesting Clause declares that the executive power of the federal government is vested in the president and, along with the Vesting Clauses of Article One and Article Three, establishes the separation of powers between the three branches of government. Section 1 establishes the Electoral College, the body charged with electing the president and the vice president. Section 1 provides that each state chooses members of the Electoral College in a manner directed by each state's respective legislature, with the states granted electors equal to their combined representation in both houses of Congress.
Section 1 lays out the procedures of the Electoral College and requires the House of Representatives to hold a contingent election to select the president if no individual wins a majority of the electoral vote. Section 1 sets forth the eligibility requirements for the office of the president, provides procedures in case of a presidential vacancy, requires the president to take an oath of office. Section 2 of Article Two lays out the powers of the presidency, establishing that the president serves as the commander-in-chief of the military and has the power to grant pardons and require the "principal officer" of any executive department to tender advice. Though not required by Article Two, President George Washington organized the principal officers of the executive departments into the Cabinet, a practice that subsequent presidents have followed; the Treaty Clause grants the president the power to enter into treaties with the approval of two-thirds of the Senate. The Appointments Clause grants the president the power to appoint judges and public officials subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, which in practice has meant that presidential appointees must be confirmed by a majority vote in the Senate.
The Appointments Clause establishes that Congress can, by law, allow the president, the courts, or the heads of departments to appoint "inferior officers" without requiring the advice and consent of the Senate. The final clause of Section 2 grants the president the power to make recess appointments to fill vacancies that occur when the Senate is in recess. Section 3 of Article Two lays out the responsibilities of the president, granting the president the power to convene both houses of Congress, receive foreign representatives, commission all federal officers. Section 3 requires the president to inform Congress of the "state of the union"; the Recommendation Clause requires the president to recommend measures he deems "necessary and expedient." The Take Care Clause requires the president to obey and enforce all laws, though the president retains some discretion in interpreting the laws and determining how to enforce them. Section 4 of Article Two establishes that the president and other officers can be removed from office through the impeachment process, further described in Article One.
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows Section 1 begins with a vesting clause that confers federal executive power upon the President. Similar clauses are found in Article I and Article III; the former bestows federal legislative power to Congress, the latter grants judicial power to the Supreme Court. These three articles create a separation of powers among the three branches of the federal government. In addition to separation of powers and important to limited government, each independent and sovereign branch provides checks and balances on the operation and power of the other two branches; the President's executive power is subject to two important limitations. First, the President lacks executive authority explicitly granted to Congress. Hence the President cannot declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, or regulate commerce though executives had wielded such authority in the past.
In these instances, Congress retained portions of the executive power that the Continental Congress had wielded under the Articles of Confederation. In fact, because those actions require legislation passed by Congress which must be signed by the President to take effect, those powers are not executive powers granted to or retained by Congress per se. Nor were they retained by the U. S. Congress as leftovers from the Articles of Confederation; the Articles of Confederation, Continental Congress and its powers were abolished at the time the new U. S. Congress was seated and the new federal government formally and replaced its interim predecessor, and although the President is implicitly denied the power to unilaterally declare war, a declaration of war is not in and of itself a vehicle of executive power since it is just a public declaration that the U. S. government considers itself "at war" with a foreign political entity. Regardless of the inability to declare war, the President does have the power to unilaterally order military action in defense of the United States pursuant to "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces".
By U. S. law, this pow