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Twelfth Amendment

an amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1804, that specifies the separate election of the president and vice president by the electoral college

Head of State

the role of the president as ceremonial head of the government

Chief Executive

the role of the president as head of the executive branch of the government

Signing Statement

a written declaration that a president may make when signing a bill into law; usually, such statements point out sections of the law that the president deems unconstitutional

Civil Service

a collective term for the body of employees working for the government; generally civil service is understood to apply to all those who gain government employment through a merit system

Appointment Power

the authority vested in the president to fill a government office or position; positions filled by presidential appointment include those in the executive branch and the federal judiciary, commissioned officers in the armed forces, and members of the independent regulatory commissions


a formal postponement of the execution of a sentence imposed by a court of law


release from the punishment or legal consequences of a crime; a pardon can be granted by the president before or after a conviction

Commander in Chief

the role of the president as supreme commander of the military forces of the United States and of the state National Guard units when they are called into federal service

War Powers Resolution

a law passed in 1973 spelling out the conditions under which the president can commit troops without congressional approval

Advice and Consent

terms in the Constitution describing the U.S. Senate's power to review and approve treaties and presidential appointments

Chief Diplomat

the role of the president in recognizing foreign governments, making treaties, and effecting executive agreements

Diplomatic Recognition

n, the formal acknowledgment of a foreign government as legitimate

Executive Agreement

a formal agreement between the U.S. president and the leaders of other nations that does not require Senate approval

Chief Legislator

the role of the president in influencing the making of laws

State of the Union Message

an annual message to Congress in which the president proposes a legislative program; the message is addressed not only to Congress but also to the American people and to the world

Veto Message

the president's formal explanation of a veto when legislation is returned to Congress

Pocket Veto

a veto exercised by the president after Congress has adjourned; if the president takes no action for ten days, the bill does not become law and is not returned to Congress for a possible override

Line-Item Veto

the power of an executive to veto individual lines or items within a piece of legislation without vetoing the entire bill

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