How can the President govern by executive orders?


There is no basis for executive order in the Constitution. But the president has control over the administration, which is a large part of the government, so he is able to issue ‘standing orders’ for the military and the departments run by his cabinet.

Congress has oversight of some presidential decisions, but because executive orders are rarely challenged by Congress, presidents have historically used them in places where a real law would be more appropriate. This, of course, creates a precedent for the next president.

President Bush is seen as having really abused the privilege. He issued executive orders authorizing torture and mistreatment of prisoners, suspending habeas corpus, controlling information flow to Congress from the War in Iraq (and keeping other secrets from his administration that should have been transparent and public). He issued ‘signing statements’ declaring himself immune from laws he himself signed–he did this 1500 times! He issued an executive order authorizing himself to take over the entire government in the case of an emergency, to subsume the operations of Congress and the Supreme Court into the executive branch, etc. In other words, in case of an emergency he is allowed to become a non-democratic dictator. And HE is the one who decides what constitutes an ’emergency’!

Whether he’d actually be able to do this is questionable. But if such things were on the books, they ought to at least be a legitimate law, passed through Congress and signed by the president, not just a unilateral act of one man.

Republicans who believe in Bush and cheered him on through this period, perhaps they don’t understand that whatever a president does, and gets away with, becomes precedent for future presidents. President Obama could well become the most despotic president in history by simply building on the Bush legacy!

Post Author: mark

3 thoughts on “How can the President govern by executive orders?

    Wounded Duck

    (February 23, 2010 - 11:09 pm)

    Well
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    jordands

    (February 23, 2010 - 11:24 pm)

    An executive order in the United States is a directive issued by the President, the head of the executive branch of the federal government. In other countries, similar edicts may be known as decrees, or orders-in-council. Executive orders may also be issued at the state level by a state’s Governor. U.S. Presidents have issued executive orders since 1789, usually to help direct the operation of executive officers. Some orders do have the force of law when made in pursuance of certain Acts of Congress, when those acts give the President discretionary powers.

    References :

    It's That Guy

    (February 23, 2010 - 11:56 pm)

    There is no basis for executive order in the Constitution. But the president has control over the administration, which is a large part of the government, so he is able to issue ‘standing orders’ for the military and the departments run by his cabinet.

    Congress has oversight of some presidential decisions, but because executive orders are rarely challenged by Congress, presidents have historically used them in places where a real law would be more appropriate. This, of course, creates a precedent for the next president.

    President Bush is seen as having really abused the privilege. He issued executive orders authorizing torture and mistreatment of prisoners, suspending habeas corpus, controlling information flow to Congress from the War in Iraq (and keeping other secrets from his administration that should have been transparent and public). He issued ‘signing statements’ declaring himself immune from laws he himself signed–he did this 1500 times! He issued an executive order authorizing himself to take over the entire government in the case of an emergency, to subsume the operations of Congress and the Supreme Court into the executive branch, etc. In other words, in case of an emergency he is allowed to become a non-democratic dictator. And HE is the one who decides what constitutes an ’emergency’!

    Whether he’d actually be able to do this is questionable. But if such things were on the books, they ought to at least be a legitimate law, passed through Congress and signed by the president, not just a unilateral act of one man.

    Republicans who believe in Bush and cheered him on through this period, perhaps they don’t understand that whatever a president does, and gets away with, becomes precedent for future presidents. President Obama could well become the most despotic president in history by simply building on the Bush legacy!
    References :

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