The President is the head of the Executive Branch of the United States Government. As the head of the branch a lot of things are formally done by the President, but in actuality many tasks are performed by other Executive Branch employees.

What determines which acts must be done by the President and which acts the President can delegate? It seems pretty clear that signing of legislation must be done by the President directly. How about other things? Can the President delegate the authority to commute or issue pardons? What is the test by which this is analyzed?

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As an example, POTUS does not undertake the entire pardon process on his own, instead they are preliminarily processed by the Department of Justice, which makes a recommendation. Only POTUS can "grant" the pardon, and we lack substantive information on how deeply he gets involved (does he just sign documents based on staff recommendations? does he do his own research?). I don't know what physical form Clinton's 450 pardons on January 20, 2001 took, but a president might use an autopen (Obama did use such a device). Questions have been raised and definitive answers from SCOTUS are lacking as to whether hand-to-paper signatures are demanded by the Constitution. DoJ at one point thought it was okay.

This article lists the Constitutional functions which cannot be delegated:

reporting to the Congress on the state of the Union; convening either or both Houses of Congress and adjourning Congress; signing and vetoing bills; receiving ambassadors and public ministers (recognition); appointing and removing ambassadors, ministers, and certain other public officers; nominating federal judges; and making recess appointments

However, the Constitutional function of negotiating treaties or numerous functions as commander in chief of the armed forces is generally delegated, within the executive branch. Numerous statutory functions can be delegated (and Congress may say explicitly that some function can be delegated, in passing the law). The matter of implied power to delegate statutory function is the topic of a couple of centuries of litigation, but as an example in Williams v. United States, 42 U.S. 290 SCOTUS held that a law

prohibiting the advance of public money in any case whatsoever to the disbursing officers of government except under the special direction of the President does not require the personal and ministerial performance of this duty, to be exercised in every instance by the President under his own hand.

SCOTUS has not established bright lines regarding the extent of permissible delegation.

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