Sec.13. The same section declares that the salary of the president shall neither be increased nor diminished during the time for which he shall have been elected. It would be improper to allow congress to reduce his salary at pleasure. This would make the executive dependent upon the legislature for his support. On the other hand, if his compensation could be increased during his official term, he might be tempted to use undue influence to procure a needless increase of his salary.
Sec.14. The presidential term commences the 4th of March next after the election, and ends the 3d day of March four years thereafter. Each successive congress also commences and ends its term every two years, on the same days of that month; and it is called a new congress, although only one-third of the senators go out of office when a congress is said to expire, and are succeeded by new ones when the next congress is said to commence its official term.
Powers and Duties of the President; Treaties; Public Ministers; Appointments and Removals.
Sec.1. The powers and duties of the president are next given. “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.” (Art. 2, Sec.2.) Some of the reasons for giving to the executive the command of the public forces, have been given. (Chap. XXV, Sec.2, 5.) It has also been observed, that a prompt and effectual execution of the laws is best secured by intrusting this power to a single individual. (Chap. XXXVIII, Sec.2.) The constitution, (Art. I, Sec.8, clauses 12-16,) give congress power over the army, navy, and militia, and “to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.” As this power is to be exercised upon sudden emergencies, congress has by law authorized the president to call out the militia for these purposes. And as the direction of the public forces is a power of an executive nature, it is intrusted to the executive.
Sec.2. The president has also “power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” The same power is exercised by the governors of the several states. (Chap. XII, Sec.4.) Through partial or false testimony, or the mistakes of judges or juries, an innocent person may be convicted of crime; or facts may subsequently come to light showing the offense to be one of less aggravation than appeared on the trial. There should therefore be somewhere a power to remit the punishment, or to mitigate the sentence, or postpone its execution, as the case may seem to require; and by no other person or persons, it is presumed, would this power be more judiciously exercised than by the executive.