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.