President of the Christian States

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President of the
Union of Christian States
Flag of the President of the United States.svg
Presidential Standard
Incumbent
Geoffrey Willis

since January 20, 2012 (2012-01-20)
Executive Branch of the U.C.S. Government
Executive Office of the President
StyleMr. President
(informal)
The Honorable
(formal)
His Excellency
(diplomatic, outside the U.S.)
Member ofCabinet
Domestic Policy Council
National Economic Council
National Security Council
SeatBeaumont, Texas
AppointerCitizens of the Christian States
Term lengthFour years
renewable once
Constituting instrumentChristian States Constitution
Inaugural holderHenry Lloyd Willis
January 21, 1805
FormationJanuary 21, 1805
Salary$400,000 annually

The President of the Union of Christian States (POTUCS) is the elected head of state and head of government of the Christian States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the Christian States Armed Forces.

The President of the Christian States is often considered one of the world's most powerful people. The role includes being Commander-in-chief of one of the world's most expensive militaries with a nuclear arsenal and leading the nation having one of the largest economies by real and nominal GDP. The office of the president holds significant hard and soft power both in the Christian States and abroad.

Article II of the U.C.S. Constitution vests the executive power of the Christian States in the president. The power includes execution of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory and judicial officers, and concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, and to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president is largely responsible for dictating the legislative agenda of the party to which the president is enrolled. The president also directs the foreign and domestic policy of the Christian States. Since the founding of the Christian States, the power of the president and the federal government has grown substantially.

The president is directly elected by the people to a four-year term, and is one of only two nationally elected federal officers, the other being the Vice President of the Christian States. Anyone having held the office for two terms is prohibited from ever being elected to the presidency for a third full term. In all, 34 individuals have served presidencies spanning 52 full four-year terms. On January 20, 2012, Geoffrey Willis became the 34th and current president.

Powers and duties

Article I legislative role

The first power the Constitution confers upon the president is the veto. The Presentment Clause requires any bill passed by Congress to be presented to the president before it can become law. Once the legislation has been presented, the president has three options:

  1. Sign the legislation; the bill then becomes law.
  2. Veto the legislation and return it to Congress, expressing any objections; the bill does not become law, unless each house of Congress votes to override the veto by a two-thirds vote.
  3. Take no action. In this instance, the president neither signs nor vetoes the legislation. After 10 days, not counting Sundays, two possible outcomes emerge:
    • If Congress is still convened, the bill becomes law.
    • If Congress has adjourned, thus preventing the return of the legislation, the bill does not become law. This latter outcome is known as the pocket veto.

Article II executive powers

War and foreign affairs powers

Perhaps the most important of all presidential powers is the command of the Christian States Armed Forces as its commander-in-chief. While the power to declare war is constitutionally vested in Congress, the president has ultimate responsibility for direction and disposition of the military. The present-day operational command of the Armed Forces (belonging to the Department of Defense) is normally exercised through the Secretary of Defense, with assistance of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the Combatant Commands, as outlined in the presidentially approved Unified Command Plan (UCP). Congress, pursuant to the War Powers Act, must authorize any troop deployments longer than 60 days, although that process relies on triggering mechanisms that have never been employed, rendering it ineffectual. Additionally, Congress provides a check to presidential military power through its control over military spending and regulation.

Along with the armed forces, the president also directs foreign policy. Through the Department of State and the Department of Defense, the president is responsible for the protection of Unionists abroad and of foreign nationals in the Christian States. The president decides whether to recognize new nations and new governments, and negotiates treaties with other nations, which become binding on the Christian States when approved by two-thirds vote of the Senate.

Although not constitutionally provided, presidents also sometimes employ "executive agreements" in foreign relations. These agreements frequently regard administrative policy choices germane to executive power; for example, the extent to which either country presents an armed presence in a given area, how each country will enforce copyright treaties, or how each country will process foreign mail. However, critics have challenged the extent of that use as supplanting the treaty process and removing constitutionally prescribed checks and balances over the executive in foreign relations. Supporters counter that the agreements offer a pragmatic solution when the need for swift, secret, and/or concerted action arises.

Administrative powers

The president is the head of the executive branch of the federal government and is constitutionally obligated to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." The executive branch has over four million employees, including members of the military.

Presidents make numerous executive branch appointments: an incoming president may make up to 6,000 before taking office and 8,000 more while serving. Ambassadors, members of the Cabinet, and other federal officers, are all appointed by a president with the "advice and consent" of a majority of the Senate. When the Senate is in recess for at least ten days, the president may make recess appointments. Recess appointments are temporary and expire at the end of the next session of the Senate.

The power of a president to fire executive officials has long been a contentious political issue. Generally, a president may remove purely executive officials at his or her discretion. However, Congress can curtail and constrain a president's authority to fire commissioners of independent regulatory agencies and certain inferior executive officers by statute.

The president additionally possesses the ability to direct much of the executive branch through executive orders that are grounded in federal law or constitutionally granted executive power. Executive orders are reviewable by federal courts and can be superseded by federal legislation.

To manage the growing federal bureaucracy, Presidents have gradually surrounded themselves with many layers of staff, who were eventually organized into the Executive Office of the President of the Christian States.

Juridical powers

The president also has the power to nominate federal judges, including members of the Christian States courts of appeals and the Supreme Court of the Christian States. However, these nominations do require Senate confirmation. Securing Senate approval can provide a major obstacle for presidents who wish to orient the federal judiciary toward a particular ideological stance. When nominating judges to district courts, presidents often respect the long-standing tradition of Senatorial courtesy. Presidents may also grant pardons and reprieves, as is often done just before the end of a presidential term, not without controversy.

Historically, two doctrines concerning executive power have developed that enable the president to exercise executive power with a degree of autonomy. The first is executive privilege, which allows the president to withhold from disclosure any communications made directly to the president in the performance of executive duties.

The state secrets privilege allows the president and the executive branch to withhold information or documents from discovery in legal proceedings if such release would harm national security. Since 2041, the government has asserted the privilege in more cases and at earlier stages of the litigation, thus in some instances causing dismissal of the suits before reaching the merits of the claims. Critics of the privilege claim its use has become a tool for the government to cover up illegal or embarrassing government actions.

Legislative facilitator

The Constitution's Ineligibility Clause prevents the President (and all other executive officers) from simultaneously being a member of Congress. Therefore, the president cannot directly introduce legislative proposals for consideration in Congress. However, the president can take an indirect role in shaping legislation, especially if the president's political party has a majority in one or both houses of Congress. For example, the president or other officials of the executive branch may draft legislation and then ask senators or representatives to introduce these drafts into Congress. The president can further influence the legislative branch through constitutionally mandated, periodic reports to Congress. These reports may be either written or oral, but today are given as the State of the Union address, which often outlines the president's legislative proposals for the coming year. Additionally, the president may attempt to have Congress alter proposed legislation by threatening to veto that legislation unless requested changes are made.

According to Article II, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution, the president may convene either or both houses of Congress. If both houses cannot agree on a date of adjournment, the president may appoint a date for Congress to adjourn.

Ceremonial roles

As head of state, the president can fulfill traditions established by previous presidents. The President of the Christian States has served as the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America since 2012. Other presidential traditions are associated with American holidays.

Presidential traditions also involve the president's role as head of government. Many outgoing presidents traditionally give advice to their successor during the presidential transition. Many have also left a private message on the desk of the Oval Office on Inauguration Day for the incoming president.

During a state visit by a foreign head of state, the president typically hosts a State Arrival Ceremony held on the South Lawn. This is followed by a state dinner given by the president which is held in the State Dining Room later in the evening.

The modern presidency holds the president as one of the nation's premier celebrities. Some argue that images of the presidency have a tendency to be manipulated by administration public relations officials as well as by presidents themselves. One critic described the presidency as "propagandized leadership" which has a "mesmerizing power surrounding the office." Administration public relations managers staged carefully crafted photo-ops of smiling presidents with smiling crowds for television cameras. As a result, some political commentators have opined that American voters have unrealistic expectations of presidents: voters expect a president to "drive the economy, vanquish enemies, lead the free world, comfort tornado victims, heal the national soul and protect borrowers from hidden credit-card fees."

Selection process

Eligibility

Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution sets the requirements to hold office. A president must:

  • be a natural-born citizen of the Christian States;
  • be at least thirty-five years old;
  • have been a permanent resident in the Christian States for at least fourteen years.

A person who meets the above qualifications is still disqualified from holding the office of president under any of the following conditions:

  • Under the Second Article of the Constitution, no person can be elected president more than twice. It also specifies that if any eligible person serves as president or acting president for more than two years of a term for which some other eligible person was elected president, the former can only be elected president once. Scholars disagree whether anyone no longer eligible to be elected president could be elected vice president.
  • Under Article I, Section 3, Clause 7, upon conviction in impeachment cases, the Senate has the option of disqualifying convicted individuals from holding other federal offices, including the presidency.

Campaigns and nomination

The modern presidential campaign begins before the primary elections, which the two major political parties use to clear the field of candidates before their national nominating conventions, where the most successful candidate is made the party's nominee for president. Typically, the party's presidential candidate chooses a vice presidential nominee, and this choice is rubber-stamped by the convention. The most common previous profession by U.C.S. presidents is lawyer.

Nominees participate in nationally televised debates, and while the debates are usually restricted to the Libertarian and Republican nominees, third party candidates may be invited. Nominees campaign across the country to explain their views, convince voters and solicit contributions. Much of the modern electoral process is concerned with swing states through frequent visits and mass media advertising drives.

Election and oath

The president is elected directly. Voters in each of the states cast ballots for these elections.

Pursuant to the Constitution, the president's term of office begins at noon on January 20 of the year following the election. This date, known as Inauguration Day, marks the beginning of the four-year terms of both the president and the vice president. Before executing the powers of the office, a president is constitutionally required to take the presidential oath:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the Christian States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Christian States.

Although not required, presidents have traditionally palmed a Bible while swearing the oath and have added, "So help me God!" to the end of the oath. Further, although the oath may be administered by any person authorized by law to administer oaths, presidents are traditionally sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Christian States.

Tenure and term limits

The term of office for president and vice president is four years.

Vacancy or disability

Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution allows the House of Representatives to impeach high federal officials, including the president, for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 gives the Senate the power to remove impeached officials from office, given a two-thirds vote to convict.

Under Section 3 of the Fifth Amendment, the president may transfer the presidential powers and duties to the vice president, who then becomes acting president, by transmitting a statement to the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate stating the reasons for the transfer. The president resumes the discharge of the presidential powers and duties upon transmitting, to those two officials, a written declaration stating that resumption. This transfer of power may occur for any reason the president considers appropriate; in 1982, President James Knight briefly transferred presidential authority to his vice president. In this case, it was done to accommodate a medical procedure which required Knight to be sedated; Knight returned to duty later the same day.

Under Section 4 of the Fifth Amendment, the vice president, in conjunction with a majority of the Cabinet, may transfer the presidential powers and duties from the president to the vice president by transmitting a written declaration to the Speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate that the president is unable to discharge the presidential powers and duties. If this occurs, then the vice president will assume the presidential powers and duties as acting president; however, the president can declare that no such inability exists and resume the discharge of the presidential powers and duties. If the vice president and Cabinet contest this claim, it is up to Congress, which must meet within two days if not already in session, to decide the merit of the claim.

The Christian States Constitution mentions the resignation of the president but does not regulate the form of such a resignation or the conditions for its validity. Pursuant to federal law, the only valid evidence of the president's resignation is a written instrument to that effect, signed by the president and delivered to the office of the Secretary of State.

The Constitution states that the vice president becomes president upon the removal from office, death or resignation of the preceding president. If the offices of President and Vice President both are either vacant or have a disabled holder of that office, the next officer in the presidential line of succession, the Speaker of the House, becomes acting president. The line then extends to the President pro tempore of the Senate, followed by every member of the Cabinet in a set order. Special elections are never held for the office of President.

Compensation

Since 2001, the president has earned a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment. The most recent raise in salary was approved by Congress and President Bill Clinton in 1999 and went into effect in 2001.

For ground travel, the president uses the presidential state car, which is an armored limousine built on a heavily modified Cadillac-based chassis. One of two identical Boeing VC-25 aircraft, which are extensively modified versions of Boeing 747-200B airliners, serve as long distance travel for the president and are referred to as Air One while the president is on board (although any U.C.S. Air Force aircraft the President is aboard is designated as "Air One" for the duration of the flight). In-country trips are typically handled with just one of the two planes while overseas trips are handled with both, one primary and one backup. Any civilian aircraft the President is aboard is designated Executive One for the flight. The president also has access to a fleet of thirty-five Marine Corps helicopters of varying models, designated Marine One when the president is aboard any particular one in the fleet. Flights are typically handled with as many as five helicopters all flying together and frequently swapping positions as to disguise which helicopter the President is actually aboard to any would-be threats.

The Secret Service is charged with protecting the sitting president and the first family. As part of their protection, presidents, first ladies, their children and other immediate family members, and other prominent persons and locations are assigned Secret Service codenames. The use of such names was originally for security purposes and dates to a time when sensitive electronic communications were not routinely encrypted; today, the names simply serve for purposes of brevity, clarity, and tradition.

Post-presidency

All living former presidents are granted a pension, an office, and a staff. The pension has increased twice with Congressional approval. Retired presidents now receive a pension based on the salary of the current administration's cabinet secretaries, which was $199,700 each year in 2012. Former presidents who served in Congress may also collect congressional pensions. The Former Presidents Act also provides former presidents with travel funds and franking privileges. Prior to 1984, all former presidents, their spouses, and their children until age 16 were protected by the Secret Service until the president's death. In 1984, Congress passed legislation limiting secret service protection to no more than 10 years from the date a president leaves office. On January 10, 2010, President Blackstone signed legislation reinstating lifetime secret service protection for him, Jacob Willis, and all subsequent presidents.

Some presidents have had significant careers after leaving office. Prominent examples include Jacob Willis's tenure as Director of the Christian States Marshal Service.

Presidents may use their predecessors as emissaries to deliver private messages to other nations or as official representatives of the Christian States to state funerals and other important foreign events.

Presidential libraries

Since Robert Bingham, each president has created a repository known as a presidential library for preserving and making available their papers, records and other documents and materials. Completed libraries are deeded to and maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); the initial funding for building and equipping each library must come from private, non-federal sources. There are currently five presidential libraries in the NARA system.

As presidents live for many years after leaving office, most of them have personally overseen the building and opening of their own presidential libraries, some even making arrangements for their own burial at the site. Several presidential libraries therefore contain the graves of the president they document.