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Old 09-14-2001, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 181
I've always wondered this, does the President of the United States have the arrest powers of a peace officer? Is he in fact a member of every department that he is over? Since he is ultimately in charge of the Justice Department, it seems that he would have the authority of any police officer.

Thanks, Conti
Old 09-14-2001, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Schlaraffenland
Posts: 20,611
If Aaron Spelling get's any wacky ideas in his head from this, I am going to be very upset.

::Cue cheesy T.J.Hooker-style 70's crime drama music::

He's in charge of the world's most powerful nation by day, daredevil crimefighter by night...
You can lead a mind to information, but you can't make it think.
Old 09-14-2001, 04:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Madison WI
Posts: 22,505
The powers of the President of the United States, per the Constitution of the United States, Article II:

"Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America....

"Section 2. 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 offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

"He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

"The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session."

So there's nothing in the Constitution which specifically imparts police power to the President. He has the power to make citizen's arrests just like everyone else does, but he can't IMHO directly order an arrest. But, be real, if the President of the United States says "arrest that man" is the Secret Service or any cop standing around not going to do it?
Old 09-14-2001, 04:35 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: The Great Dismal Swamp
Posts: 1,501
I want to answer no, but I don't want to spend the time it would take to answer the question well. my flip answer would be, that if the President had authority to arrest people simply by holding office, he ought to be able to fly fighter jets as well.

So, I'll try to answer backwards and by implication.
From Title 18, Section 3056. Powers, authorities, and duties of United States Secret Service
c)(1) Under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, officers and agents of the Secret Service are authorized to -
(A) execute warrants issued under the laws of the United States;
(B) carry firearms;
(C) make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony;
I quote this to note that Secret Service agents need to hace a specific authorization to carry outh their duties. (I don't know if there is a general section for all federal law enforcement. I suspect that there is a different section for each type of federal law enforcement.) The quick answer, then, is that the President doesn't have that specific authorization.
But, your question is really more fundamental than my answer so far. I think that to answer it well, we'd need to study how the person occupying the office of the President represents the Executive branch and has its authority, but he isn't the basis of that authority. He doesn't get to be every part of the Executive branch. For a not so good example, the President is also the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. So, we can say he is a member of our armed forces. He outranks all of them. That doesn't suggest that he should be able to fulfill any lesser military role - he's stuck being the Big Kahuna. I think, by analogy, he's stuck in his same role as the head of each branch of the government.
Which isn't to say, that with all the law enforcement at his disposal he couldn't put you in a world of hurt.
Old 09-14-2001, 05:22 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 5,820
Section 1 of the US Const. vests the executive power in the President. The executive power includes, by necessity, the power to enforce laws, make arrests, etc.
There are 10 kinds of people in this world: those who understand binary numbers and those who don't.

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