Executive Orders: What The Founding Fathers Wanted?

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President Obama signs an executive order in the White House Oval Office. Credit: celsias.com

 

What is an executive order? Depends on who you ask.

Former President Clinton advisor Paul Begala said, “Stroke of the pen. Law of the Land. Kinda cool.”

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt said, “We’ve switched the rules of the game. We’re not trying to do anything legislatively.”

Executive orders are regulations issued by the president that do not require Congressional approval, and they become law after 30 days. Presidents have issued executive orders for a long time.

In fact, the first executive order was a communique issued on June 8, 1789, when President George Washington asked department heads “to impress me with a full, precise, and distinct general idea of the affairs of the United States” handled by each official. That communique is reasonable, in that it was limited to department heads within the government. But what about other executive orders?

Probably the most famous executive order came on January 1, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Issued during the third year of the Civil War, the proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

After the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which called for the removal of Japanese-American citizens during the time of World War II into internment camps.

What about recent executive orders? One Executive Order that has people concerned was issued on March 16th, 2012 by President Obama, EO 13603 (called National Defense Resource Preparedness). Cato Institute Senior Fellow Jim Powell says “This 10-page document is a blueprint for a federal takeover of the economy that would dwarf the looming Obamacare takeover of the health insurance business.”

Should we have executive orders? Past and current supporters of presidents issuing executive orders claim there is constitutional authority, coming from Article II, section 1 (“The executive power shall be vested in a president of the United States of America.”) and Article II, section 3 (“The President shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”). If you review the Constitution, though, you will see that there is no specific enumeration anywhere which allows for executive orders.

If we are talking about using executive orders to direct executive agencies on implementing Congressional approved legislation, that is reasonable. But if we are talking about using executive orders to create law without Congressional approval, however well-intended, that gives too much power to one person and goes beyond what the founding fathers had intended when they wrote the Constitution.

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  1. flybob SethHorn You are right Seth with one exception. The president is charged BY the US Constitution to insure that all laws are executed. One way to do that would be to issue an executive order to PRIORITIZE certain laws.  For instance if the police are targeting dui and speeding suspects in an are where gang banging is prevalent the president can tell them to go after the gang bangers by executive order.  He CANNOT, however, issue law to effect the people with the "stroke of a pen". The president IS the chief law enforcement officer in the us but he HAS to adhere to the written law. Our president (YECH!) is breaking so many laws it isn't even funny and congress is doing nothing which makes them criminals as well. Just aiding the illegal immigrants is COMPLETELY against federal law.  It is illegal to give comfort or entices or harbor illegal aliens and our government officials are doing that every day.  The president has ordered the border patrol to stand down which in itself is a complete disregard for the law. There has been MANY MANY serious and illegal abuses of executive order made by most of the presidents in our history. FDR took all the people's gold by executive order and Clinton signed the order effectively implementing agenda 21 in our country.  We're so far from constitutional law it isn't even funny. I hope the real men in this country will eventually stand up and fight these traitorous bastards. Time will tell but the evidence isn't there right now. I'll guarantee you one thing, they won't be putting me on a cattle car headed for a fema camp. I'll be pushing up daisies long before that and I won't be going alone. I just hope our country survives. I saw the president is about to give the authority of the internet over to another country. If this guy isn't a traitor muslim plant I don't what is. I'll bet my last dollar the new managers of the internet will track us and punish anyone that doesn't talk well of islam. If we don't make a stand soon there will be nothing worth standing for.
  2. SethHorn No one person should be able to dictate (executive order) a law to the American public whatsoever! Seriously, almost all of our population actually believes that executive orders apply to the citizens. Legally, they don't. Legally, they are supposed to only apply to the executive branch exclusively. That means most of the executive orders that were ever written are actually null and void. If I am wrong, please inform me.
  3. flybob @John Tracey NO you moron! You think you know something? YOU KNOW NOTHING! ONLY LANDOWNERS SHOULD be able to vote idiot.  AND you should be a citizen to be a land owner!  These illegals and non-workers are voting themselves a living by keeping the politicians in office that will do anything for a vote so the rest of us are going bankrupt BECAUSE OF THEM!  If you had YOUR way 4 year olds would be able to vote and what do you think they would vote for? The GUY THAT GAVE THEM THE MOST CANDY just like the illegals and users do IDIOT!!! Landowners have a dog in the fight, illegals and non-workers only care about the free stuff they get. What about the women vote? You really are stupid.  The founders KNEW women vote with their heart and men vote with their HEAD!. It also kept the family in a cohesive environment.  It was done that way for a reason stupid. First off they in that day could not take the entire family to the polls in a lot of cases but that wasn't the original intent of the day. The family got together and DISCUSSED the issues and sent the MAN to represent them!  The man had conversations with his wife and entire family and sometimes it changed HIS mind about the vote but there was fruitful debate before the man went to represent the family at the polls. It kept the FAMILY involved and together and it worked.  Maybe you like todays ideas better.  82% of black children grow up without a father, 67% of Hispanic children grow up without a father and 56% of white children grow up without a father.  Our government PROMOTES family division and it shows in our moral standards, crime rate and high school drop out rate. So you think the founders were so stupid and the policies wouldn't still be accepted? We house the highest prison population per capita in the world, 74% of those inmates are black even though the black population represents only 11% of the total population.  Blacks without fathers vs 70% prison population and high school drop out rate? Maybe a correlation? Probably not to you because YOU are the stupid one.  They are ALL directly related just as the morality issue.  Try looking up WHY the Roman empire fell moron. There were many but the top five were, LACK OF MORALITY, fiscal irresponsibility, military spread too thinly, failure to maintain their borders and political corruption.  See and similarities? Our country is FAILING right before our eyes and it is because of MORONS LIKE YOU!  The ONLY good news is that WHEN it happens, and it will, YOU will reap the pitfalls just as strongly as any other.  The sad part is that WE didn't cause it YOU did! I look FORWARD to you suffering the same fate as you caused! Traitor asshole. You will NOT enslave me!  And I will FIGHT TO MY DEATH TO PROVE IT!
  4. flybob @Bill Jurkovich And exactly what did you have in mind for the country libtard?  Maybe we should just keep going into debt so the Chinese can just repossess or foreclose on us? You run your big flap but YOU are the reason we have domestic insolvency and the political/racial division in our country. It is YOUR position we support the people of the world and those who YOU would decide SHOULD be supported but YOU can't do it without out influx of work so YOU enslave us that do NOT want to a part of the slavery you are forcing upon us. It's YOUR will or else and no other solution is possible. Our country is BROKE(N) BECAUSE OF YOU!!! YOUR party of overspending and WAY WAY WAY over borrowing and now our children and THEIR children will NEVER BE FREE BECUSE OF YOU! There will be NO law and I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU WHEN THAT HAPPENS! IN OUR SIGHTS! YOU POS ENSLAVER OF MEN AND IDEALS!!! YOUR DAY IS COMING AND WHEN IT DOES LET'S JUST SEE HOW PROUD YOUR ARE OF BEING AN AMERICAN YOU TRAITOR ASSHOLE!!! YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO CALL THE TEAPARTY MEMBERS NAMES???? SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES THAT DON'T DESERVE WHAT YOU HAVE FORCED UPON THEM!!! YOU KILLED THIS COUNTRY AND YOU WILL WALLOW IN IT!!! YOU ARE THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY!!! YOU WOULDN'T KNOW A PATRIOT IF ONE HIT YOU FROM BEHIND!!!
  5. flybob @Bill Jurkovich
  6. Richard Holland Which President has put in to effect the most executive orders?
  7. Al Czervik I'm not sure nor do I care that much but it's not Obama. But I guess if Glen Beck, Alex Jones and the Ron Paulbots say its 923 it must be true then. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/executiveorders.asp
  8. Al Czervik Amen Bill Jurkovich!
  9. Al Czervik Well said John. If it were up to today's members of the Founding Father's fan club, we would abolish the Reconstruction Amendments and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If we are going to do that, why don't we give the Louisiana territory back to the French or better yet the Natives who actually owned it in the first place since Jefferson acquired it unconstitutionally in the first place. Most of these yahoos crying about the Constitution either want the country to go back to being the lily white, Republican wet dream of the 1950s or want to go back 1776-1861. Many Founders stretched the limits of the Constitution both in their own theory/thoughts and in their political action but for some reason that is never mentioned among the Tea Party. Either because they are completely ignorant or completely untrustworthy. Anyone who has studied American history knows the Founders were far from perfect and were actually extremely flawed individuals.
  10. Al Czervik Amen
27 comments
SethHorn
SethHorn

No one person should be able to dictate (executive order) a law to the American public whatsoever! Seriously, almost all of our population actually believes that executive orders apply to the citizens. Legally, they don't. Legally, they are supposed to only apply to the executive branch exclusively. That means most of the executive orders that were ever written are actually null and void. If I am wrong, please inform me.

Richard Holland
Richard Holland

Which President has put in to effect the most executive orders?

John Tracey
John Tracey

Our founding fathers were cool with slavery, only male landowners voting, women not at all.

Can we admit that, as smart as they were, we've evolved a bit past what the founding fathers envisioned?

Serge Cruz
Serge Cruz

I think its treasonous that you are even asking this question. Every president in american history has had this priviledge. Why not Obama?

Bill Jurkovich
Bill Jurkovich

The entire tea party having their head up their collective asses, is A NATIONAL EMERGENCY!!

Kathy Jones
Kathy Jones

For time of war in emergency only. if you want a dictatorship where someone by passes the branches to get his way you live in the wrong country.

Nanson Hwa
Nanson Hwa

"What the Founding Fathers Wanted" from the colonists is for them to fight for them to secure their independence from British taxation and in return they will give the fighters the right to claim tracks of land, individual freedom and a place in history to honor their patriotism.

Ciro J. Giue
Ciro J. Giue

Typically, with a question like this you're for it when your party is in office and against it when the other party is there. I'm against it. None of these clowns - Republicans or Democrats - are as capable or smart as our founding fathers!

Greg Kiff
Greg Kiff

not this guy who trys to fool everyone that he is president.

Eric D Brown
Eric D Brown

When the electorate is so passive and the Congress so inadequate, sometimes executive orders are all that can move necessary work forward.

Pam Mercier
Pam Mercier

No executive orders at all. It bypasses the role of Congress and unless the person in the Oval Office is a saint, there's too much probability of abuse... (hint) NDAA.

Richard Imhoff
Richard Imhoff

Not for what our presidents have been useing the power for recently.

Ronald Edwards
Ronald Edwards

I think the President needs to use this power to resolve emergency issues, those that would otherwise result in a permanent deadlock and rare instances regarding national safety, however someone should review every usage of the Executive Order just to make sure it's being used wisely. Apart from that, we should let the system function as we design it to.

flybob
flybob

@SethHorn You are right Seth with one exception. The president is charged BY the US Constitution to insure that all laws are executed. One way to do that would be to issue an executive order to PRIORITIZE certain laws.  For instance if the police are targeting dui and speeding suspects in an are where gang banging is prevalent the president can tell them to go after the gang bangers by executive order.  He CANNOT, however, issue law to effect the people with the "stroke of a pen". The president IS the chief law enforcement officer in the us but he HAS to adhere to the written law. Our president (YECH!) is breaking so many laws it isn't even funny and congress is doing nothing which makes them criminals as well. Just aiding the illegal immigrants is COMPLETELY against federal law.  It is illegal to give comfort or entices or harbor illegal aliens and our government officials are doing that every day.  The president has ordered the border patrol to stand down which in itself is a complete disregard for the law. There has been MANY MANY serious and illegal abuses of executive order made by most of the presidents in our history. FDR took all the people's gold by executive order and Clinton signed the order effectively implementing agenda 21 in our country.  We're so far from constitutional law it isn't even funny. I hope the real men in this country will eventually stand up and fight these traitorous bastards. Time will tell but the evidence isn't there right now. I'll guarantee you one thing, they won't be putting me on a cattle car headed for a fema camp. I'll be pushing up daisies long before that and I won't be going alone. I just hope our country survives. I saw the president is about to give the authority of the internet over to another country. If this guy isn't a traitor muslim plant I don't what is. I'll bet my last dollar the new managers of the internet will track us and punish anyone that doesn't talk well of islam. If we don't make a stand soon there will be nothing worth standing for.

flybob
flybob

@John Tracey NO you moron! You think you know something? YOU KNOW NOTHING! ONLY LANDOWNERS SHOULD be able to vote idiot.  AND you should be a citizen to be a land owner!  These illegals and non-workers are voting themselves a living by keeping the politicians in office that will do anything for a vote so the rest of us are going bankrupt BECAUSE OF THEM!  If you had YOUR way 4 year olds would be able to vote and what do you think they would vote for? The GUY THAT GAVE THEM THE MOST CANDY just like the illegals and users do IDIOT!!! Landowners have a dog in the fight, illegals and non-workers only care about the free stuff they get. What about the women vote? You really are stupid.  The founders KNEW women vote with their heart and men vote with their HEAD!. It also kept the family in a cohesive environment.  It was done that way for a reason stupid. First off they in that day could not take the entire family to the polls in a lot of cases but that wasn't the original intent of the day. The family got together and DISCUSSED the issues and sent the MAN to represent them!  The man had conversations with his wife and entire family and sometimes it changed HIS mind about the vote but there was fruitful debate before the man went to represent the family at the polls. It kept the FAMILY involved and together and it worked.  Maybe you like todays ideas better.  82% of black children grow up without a father, 67% of Hispanic children grow up without a father and 56% of white children grow up without a father.  Our government PROMOTES family division and it shows in our moral standards, crime rate and high school drop out rate. So you think the founders were so stupid and the policies wouldn't still be accepted? We house the highest prison population per capita in the world, 74% of those inmates are black even though the black population represents only 11% of the total population.  Blacks without fathers vs 70% prison population and high school drop out rate? Maybe a correlation? Probably not to you because YOU are the stupid one.  They are ALL directly related just as the morality issue.  Try looking up WHY the Roman empire fell moron. There were many but the top five were, LACK OF MORALITY, fiscal irresponsibility, military spread too thinly, failure to maintain their borders and political corruption.  See and similarities? Our country is FAILING right before our eyes and it is because of MORONS LIKE YOU!  The ONLY good news is that WHEN it happens, and it will, YOU will reap the pitfalls just as strongly as any other.  The sad part is that WE didn't cause it YOU did! I look FORWARD to you suffering the same fate as you caused! Traitor asshole. You will NOT enslave me!  And I will FIGHT TO MY DEATH TO PROVE IT!

Al Czervik
Al Czervik

Well said John. If it were up to today's members of the Founding Father's fan club, we would abolish the Reconstruction Amendments and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If we are going to do that, why don't we give the Louisiana territory back to the French or better yet the Natives who actually owned it in the first place since Jefferson acquired it unconstitutionally in the first place. Most of these yahoos crying about the Constitution either want the country to go back to being the lily white, Republican wet dream of the 1950s or want to go back 1776-1861. Many Founders stretched the limits of the Constitution both in their own theory/thoughts and in their political action but for some reason that is never mentioned among the Tea Party. Either because they are completely ignorant or completely untrustworthy. Anyone who has studied American history knows the Founders were far from perfect and were actually extremely flawed individuals.

flybob
flybob

@Bill Jurkovich And exactly what did you have in mind for the country libtard?  Maybe we should just keep going into debt so the Chinese can just repossess or foreclose on us? You run your big flap but YOU are the reason we have domestic insolvency and the political/racial division in our country. It is YOUR position we support the people of the world and those who YOU would decide SHOULD be supported but YOU can't do it without out influx of work so YOU enslave us that do NOT want to a part of the slavery you are forcing upon us. It's YOUR will or else and no other solution is possible. Our country is BROKE(N) BECAUSE OF YOU!!! YOUR party of overspending and WAY WAY WAY over borrowing and now our children and THEIR children will NEVER BE FREE BECUSE OF YOU! There will be NO law and I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU WHEN THAT HAPPENS! IN OUR SIGHTS! YOU POS ENSLAVER OF MEN AND IDEALS!!! YOUR DAY IS COMING AND WHEN IT DOES LET'S JUST SEE HOW PROUD YOUR ARE OF BEING AN AMERICAN YOU TRAITOR ASSHOLE!!! YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO CALL THE TEAPARTY MEMBERS NAMES???? SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES THAT DON'T DESERVE WHAT YOU HAVE FORCED UPON THEM!!! YOU KILLED THIS COUNTRY AND YOU WILL WALLOW IN IT!!! YOU ARE THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY!!! YOU WOULDN'T KNOW A PATRIOT IF ONE HIT YOU FROM BEHIND!!!