November 12, 2019 | Damages Actions Against Federal Agents for Constitutional Violations
|Faithful Execution of the Laws||Important Cases|
|Section 3 outlines the responsibilities of the President. Most of the portions of this section are straightforward and do not have significant Supreme Court precedents dealing with them. The President must provide a State of the Union address to discuss the condition of the country. It is the duty of the President to make recommendations to Congress, on behalf of the public, as to what laws should be passed. In the event of an emergency, the President can call Congress into session. The President also must receive and meet with foreign dignitaries and ambassadors. Additionally, the President may commission officers in the military and foreign services.|
The main responsibility of the President is to faithfully execute the laws passed by Congress. This means that it is the Executive’s sole responsibility to enforce the law, and they must do so as exactly as Congress has detailed in law. In Clinton v. City of New York, the Court held that “line-item” vetoes were unconstitutional. These vetoes allowed the President to cancel certain portions of budget bills while allowing the remainder of the bill to pass. The Court ruled this was unconstitutional because it let the President change the law that Congress had already passed. This was viewed as an unconstitutional expansion of the power of the Executive, whose role was solely to carry out the laws rather than change them.
In Printz v. The United States, the Brady Handgun Prevent bill was struck down as unconstitutional because it forced state officials – local police officers – to enforce a federal regulatory scheme. The Court listed various reasons for striking down the bill, one of which was the role of the Executive as the only branch responsible for executing the law. Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, stated “The Constitution does not leave to speculation who is to administer the laws enacted by Congress; the President, it says, “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
The President cannot alter how the law is to be implemented when specific instructions have been provided by Congress. This was affirmed recently in the 2014 decision Utility Air Regulatory Group v. E.P.A., where the Court held that the EPA had over-stepped its authority in changing certain limits in a statute to make the law more workable. Determining that the language in the law was clear, the Court held that the agency could not change the limits in the law. The Executive branch did not have the power to change the law once passed, even if it wasn’t working well in practice.
|Clinton v. City of New York (1998)|