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office of President, although they were not natural born citizens.
$ 403. It is required that the President shall be thirtyfive years of age at the time of his election, because at that period of life it is probable his character will be formed, his qualifications ascertained, and his mind improved by experience and knowledge.
$ 404. A previous residence of fourteen years in the United States, is also required in order that the people may have an opportunity of ascertaining his fitness for the office, and that he may become familiar with our institutions. The residence required by the Constitution does not preclude a temporary sojourn in foreign countries; it seems designed to prohibit a permanent settlement abroad, with the intention of remaining abroad.
[Clause 6.] “In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice-President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation, or Inability, both of the President and VicePresident, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.”
$ 405. The Constitution by this clause declares that in case of the death, removal, resignation, or inability of the President, the duties of his office shall devolve upon the Vice-President. When the Vice-President succeeds to the duties of the President, he continues to discharge them until the close of the term for which the President was elected, unless it be only a temporary disability of the President, which is sooner removed. Congress is further authorized to provide for the case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability, both of the President and VicePresident.
$ 406. Accordingly Congress, in 1792, enacted that in case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability both of the President and Vice-President, the President of the Senate, pro tempore, and in case there shall be no President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall act as President, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
$ 407. It is customary for the Vice-President of the United States, who is the President of the Senate, to withdraw from the Senate a short time previous to the close of every session, so that the Senate may elect a President pro tempore. Then if the office of President of the United States, and that of Vice-President should both become vacant during the recess of Congress, the President pro tempore of the Senate would act as President of the United States; and if there were no President pro tempore of the Senate, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives would act.
$ 408. Should such a vacancy occur while there was no President of the Senate pro tempore, and during the recess of Congress, after the expiration of one Congress and before the assembling of another, while, therefore, there would be no Speaker of the House of Representatives, then it would seem that no person is designated to act as President.
$ 409. Congress, by the same act, declared that when ever the office of President and of Vice-President shall both become vacant, the Secretary of State shall notify the executive of every State, and that electors of President and Vice. President shall be chosen, as above mentioned, within thirty. four days preceding the first Wednesday in the ensuing December; provided that there shall be a space of two months between the date of the notice and the first Wednesday of December; but if there shall not be such space of two months, and if the Presidential term shall not expire on the third day of the ensuing March, then the electors shall be appointed within thirty-four days preceding the first Wednesday of December in the following year. The proceedings and duties of the electors are the same as in the case of a regular election.
[Clause 7.] “The President shall, at stated Times, re.. ceive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.” . $ 410. The President would scarcely be independent of Congress, if that body had the power to deprive him of his salary, and thus control his means of support. On the other hand, if his salary could be increased during his term of office, he might be tempted from his duty by the prospect of obtaining such increase.
$ 411. The salary of the President is, by an act of Congress passed in 1793, fixed at the rate of $25,000 a year, together with the use of the Presidential mansion and its furniture. The salary of the Vice-President is at the rate of $8,000 a year.
[Clause 8.] “Before he enter on the execution of his Uffice, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation :"I do solamnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully
T.execute the Office of President of the United States, and
will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and de'fend the Constitution of the United States.'”
$ 412. The object of this clause was to insure faithfulness on the part of the President, by means of the solemnity and sanction of an oath. It is his sworn duty to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States to the best of his ability.
SECTION. 2. [Clause 1.] “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 re- . quire 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.”
$ 413. Experience has shown that in time of war, activity, energy, promptness, and unity, in the operations of an army or navy, are more likely to be attained when the commanding power is in the hands of a single person than when it is distributed among several persons. If, then, such power is to be vested in any single magistrate, it seems proper that it should be intrusted to the highest executive officer of the government.
$ 414. The President is the commander-in-chief of the army and navy in time of peace as well as of war; but he has no right to command the militia of the several States ex
tept when they are called into the actual service of the United States. (See art. I., sec. E, clause 15.) .
$ 415. The President is also authorized to 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; at the same time he is under no obligation to adopt such opinion. He cannot require the opinion of the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, as they can constitutionally be called on to decide only such questions as come regularly before them according to law.
$ 416. The President is authorized to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment. A reprieve is a suspension or delay of the execution of a sentence in a criminal case, for a limited time. A pardon is a discharge of the offender from all the punishment which the law inflicts on his offence. The pardoning power also includes the remission of fines, penalties, and forfeitures under the various laws of the United States.
$ 417. Impeachment is generally employed against high officers of government for matters relating to the discharge of their official duties. The judgment does not extend farther than to removal from office and disqualification from holding office thereafter, and cannot be pronounced unless two-thirds of the Senate concur. The power to pardon in such cases, is withheld from the President, because the object of impeachment is to disgrace rather than to punish, and because the President might sometimes be inclined to favour and protect persons occupying important stations in the government, and appointed, perhaps, by himself.