In general the courts have recognized that the President acts through the chiefs of the Departments and that their acts are, in the view of the law, his acts. In proper cases, also, the acts of subordinate officials will be considered as the acts of a departmental head, and thus of the President.
By a law of 1806 the President was authorized to exempt certain lands from sale. In Wilcox v. Jackson12 the court said with reference to a certain tract: " Now, although the immediate agent in requiring this reservation was the Secretary of War, yet we feel justified in presuming that it was done by the approbation and direction of the President. The President speaks and acts through the heads of the several departments in relation to subjects which appertain to their respective duties. Both military posts and Indian affairs, including agencies, belong to the War Department. Hence we consider the act of the War Department in requiring this reservation to be made, as being in legal contemplation the act of the President; and, consequently, that the reservation thus made was, in legal contemplation, the act of the President; and, consequently, that the reservation thus made was, in legal effect, a reservation made by order of the President, within the terms of the act of Congress."13
"The President's duty in general requires his superintendence of the administration; yet this duty cannot require of him to become the administrative officer of every department and bureau, or to perform in person the numerous details incident to services which, nevertheless, he is, in a correct sense, by the Constitution and laws required and expected to perform. This cannot be, because if it were practicable, it would be to absorb the duties and responsibilities of the various departments of the Government in the personal action of the one chief executive officer. It cannot be, for the strongest reason, that it is impracticable - nay, impossible."
12 13 Pet. 498; 10 L. ed. 264.
13 In Jones v. United States (137 U. S. 202; 11 Sup. Ct. Rep. 80; 34 L. ed. 691) the court say:
"The power conferred on the President of the United States by section 1