Wicked Commentary

George Washington used the first Executive Order after only three months in office.  Every single president since then used EOs.  By the time Lincoln was president during 1862,  13,000 were issued. Those were not numbered.

President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and issued the Emancipation Proclamation by an EO.  So how did United States Presidents get the power to issue an EO and bypass congress and carry the same legal weight as laws passed by congress?

Article II, Section 1 of our Constitution grants this authority to Presidents.  Section 3 of Article II further directs the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”  EOs run completely against the general logic of the Constitution that no one should have power to act unilaterally.  However, those who wrote the Constitution gave the president this power. Am I the only one confused?  Was this set up to fail from the beginning? Where in the world did our Founders find the faith to believe Presidents would not abuse this power?

Many important policy changes occurred through EOs.  President Eisenhower used an EO to desegregate schools.  Presidents Kennedy and Johnson used them to bar racial discrimination in federal housing, hiring, and contracting.  President Reagan used an EO to bar the use of federal funds for advocating abortion. Then years later President Clinton reversed this order when he was in office.  Is anyone else thinking our Founders should have thought this one through a little better?

If Congress does not like an EO, it has two main options.  First, it may rewrite or amend a previous law, or spell it out in greater detail how the Executive Branch must act.  Of course, the President has the right to veto the bill if he disagrees with it, so, in practice, a 2/3 majority is often required to override an EO. Huh? This is the truth, but it sure doesn’t make sense to me.

EOs can also be challenged in court on the basis it deviates from congressional intent or exceeds the President’s powers.  History shows the Supreme Court has been very tolerant of a range of EOs.  Oh goody.  We see how well that checks and balance has worked out!  We all just learned that Obamacare is Constitutional because the SCOTUS said so.  Well, actually four communist said it was in its submitted form and then Chief Justice Traitor rewrote it for congress, so he could vote it Constitutional.

I’m sure the brilliant men who wrote our Constitution had nothing but the best intention by giving Presidents the power of EOs.   I just wish they remembered power always corrupts.  Someone with that power will push their personal agenda.  Our Republic and history proves they get away with it almost every single time using EOs.  I believe it’s time to revisit that part of our Constitution and give it a much more narrow scope of power and clear-cut definition.  I wish that could be accomplished before this November’s election.


Comments on: "Executive Orders by Dave Taylor, Contributing Writer" (16)

  1. Dave,

    Now at least we know where the EOs originated. It is hard for me to believe also that this was handed over to Presidents because now the EO is so abusive. And this present dictator uses them for his own agenda. Has nothing to do with what the people want, only to install his Marxist ideology.


    • Pepp,

      I just can’t seem to understand why a president was given so much power to create laws with basically no oversight. The constitution has so many parts that grant the power to create laws to each individual state or going through congress and then the president. States also have the power to refuse laws being force fed to them by the fed gov. I’m just clueless.

      I love our constitution, but I have to side with clyde on this one and call it a major oops…


  2. Good post,Dave. It is my position ALL EO’s should be done away with,and that lil’ screwup be relegated to the dustbin of history.


    • clyde,

      Thanks for the compliment. I agree with you 100% and I would love to see EO’s removed from our constitution and that power be taken away from any pres. However; those power hungry psychos will never let that happen. That’s why I would be happy, if they just revisited that part of the constitution and reduced its power GREATLY!


      • Dave,

        Since this has been going on since Washington, I doubt very much that EOs will ever be disallowed.


        • Pepp,

          I’m sure your are correct. Not even Republicans are willing to let go of that power when a Repub pres is in office, so they’re more than happy to live with the damage that is done when someone like Obama has that power. We The People are always second to each sides great hunger for power…


          • Dave

            Republicans will want to use EOs to undo the Dictator’s rule. If one of the repubs can get elected. I wonder though when the repubs won’t fight back as hard as the commie group.


          • Pepp,

            I’m sure you are correct. My opinion is that if EO’s had been addressed as soon as Washington used the first one (while our Founders were right there watching) we probably wouldn’t be in this current mess, because they may not have been available to Obama to undercut to the true intent of our constitution. It needed to be addressed by the greatest minds in the history of our nation, but it wasn’t and now here we are…


  3. EO’s were more than likely meant to be used in a way that was more to help the people – obama’s are to be used against US citizens.


    • Donna
      I think you got the point. These EOs that Obama puts out are all against the people.


    • Hi Donna,

      Thanks for your comment. I put a very lengthy explanation under ‘awk’s first comment that explains how president’s believe they have the power to issue EO’s that may help you understand this process much better. Please let me know, if you have further questions.

      We’ve had great presidents and some that really sucked. Our great presidents though they have used this “assumed” power have shown great restraint. The ones that sucked (and lets just go ahead and use the worse of all time as an example…our current critter) have shown zero restraint and used them to re-frame the intent of the constitution.

      Bottom line for me is EO’s grant one person way too much power to establish law and I don’t think our Founder’s intended any one person to be able to do that so easily. So I think they should be ruled unconstitutional for any president. I understand Pepp’s opinion that EO’s can be used in the future to try and fix the mess Obama has created, but if EO’s were not constitutional to being with, Obama would not have been able to make such a mess so easily. That’s my humble opinion…


  4. goshawk3 said:

    Good post Dave!

    However, I was under the impression that an EO was granted only to be used in case of an emergency, like war. But that all presidents have abused that power.


    • Hey ‘awk,

      Thanks for your compliment. It’s a bit more in depth (than my article, but I didn’t want my article to be three pages long) how the pres got this power. Actually; there is NO constitutional provision or statute that “explicitly” permits executive orders. Starting with Washington; they took snip its from different places in the constitution to rationalize how the constitution give them the power of EO’s and there has never been a formal challenge to whether they actually have this power or not. Only challenges to specific EO’s signed.

      Here’s how they got it: There is a vague grant of “executive power” given in Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the constitution, and furthered by the declaration “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” made in Article II, Section 3, Clause 4. They also dragged clause 5 in to further explain their power to issue EO’s.

      Clause 5 contains the Take Care Clause. The purpose of this clause is to ensure that a law is faithfully executed by the president, even if the president disagrees with the purpose of that law. Thus; they all have stated they are granted this power, because of constitutional reasoning as the authorization allowing for their issuance to be justified as part of the president’s sworn duties. So they create law when they feel there is an injustice that needs fixing immediately. There fall back is congress can always write a law overriding the EO or the SCOTUS has to power to strike it down. Neither congress nor the SCOTUS have ever challenged is EO’s actually constitutional.

      Not even our Founders that wrote our deceleration and constitution questioned Washington when he used the very first one so early in his first term. In my mind; that is where it should have been challenged. They should have either struck the power down or better defined.

      I hope that helps, but please feel free to ask additional questions.


  5. Dave, great article. Instead of being a bowl of cherries they are actually a bowl of pitts. And the worst line is “they all do it, all prez’s use them”. More fiat law for us to be smothered by. Why don’t they ever use them for good then?


    • Hey bull,

      Thanks for the compliment. I guess “good” is in the eye of the beholder. I’m sure the majority of people think it was a good “no-brainer” when JFK used an EO to end segregation. Everyone’s personal opinion on segregation is not my point on this matter. My point is should JFK had the power to tell states what to do all by himself. My opinion is no he shouldn’t have and neither should any president. That was a subject that congress should have addressed and then sent a bill to JFK to sign into law.


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