The Power of a President
Forget everything you’ve heard during election-year speeches. The president does not make the laws. The Constitution gives to Congress the power to make and amend laws. The president, through the vast reaches of the Executive Department, enforces the law. The courts interpret those laws as they are applied in individual circumstances, determining whether a law has been properly applied or is itself in violation of the Constitution. While the courts must wait for a legal issue to be brought before them, the president is free to consult with Congress about what laws should be passed. This is a power that has grown greatly over the years, as the political clout of the presidents has grown. But no matter how much the president promises, argues, pressures, or pleads, there is no guarantee that he can get a majority of the 100 senators and the 435 representatives in Congress to agree with him.