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    The Executive Branch is responsible for carrying out the day-to-day administration of government business such as enforcing laws, defending the country, and managing the commons.

    The power and influence associated with the office of the President of the United States has been growing. People talk about the President’s agenda, the administration’s agenda, to push bills through Congress. That’s not the way it should be. The President’s agenda and focus should be entirely on the effective and efficient day-to-day administration of government business, enforcing laws, and defending the country. The President should not have a legislative agenda — that belongs to elected representatives and senators.

    In the United States Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 states: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”

    In the United States, the President has the power to pardon people convicted of crimes. This power has only rarely been used legitimately. More often, a president will pardon a bunch of people just before leaving office. If the pardons were legitimate, they would have been done as soon as the matter was decided and would have stood by these pardon decisions instead of leaving it to the last days of the administration where complaints about the pardons generally go directly to the trash. One illegitimate use of the pardon that hasn’t yet been attempted in the United States is a president pardoning himself or herself. A self-pardon is obviously unethical because one of the pillars of ethical government is not using public office for private gain. Furthermore, a self-pardon ability makes the executive completely immune from breaking the law. A president with control over law enforcement and a self-pardon ability could do anything without any accountability by the Legislative Branch or the Judicial Branch, including murdering all the judges and blowing up the legislature and declaring himself or herself a dictator. In the United States, the constitution only prohibits a pardon in cases of impeachment but this is very weak protection because if the legislature chooses not to impeach, or impeaches but the Senate not convict, or if the president disrupts the legislature illegally to disrupt the impeachment proceedings, the president can still self-pardon. The legislature must ensure the constitution specifically prohibiting a self-pardon and the prevent future abuses.

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