President Barack Obama is following on the heels of previous presidents such as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, whose disdain for constitutional checks and balance was often evident in the flurry of executive orders (EOs) and presidential decision directives (PDDs) signed in an effort to get around Congress.
Once used as a way to establish schedules for executive office employees or to help agencies under the White House carry out their duties, EOs and PDDs are increasingly being used as a means to bypass the due process of proper legislation.
Through these, Obama is following the precedent set by his predecessors, bypassing the legislative process and instead relying on making up the rules himself through various governmental agencies and hand-selected czars. And while Obama, who has issued 134 EOs, does not hold a candle to past presidents like FDR, who issued an incredible 3,522 EOs, or Woodrow Wilson, who signed 1,807 EOs, his use is pushing the bounds for which they were originally intended.
By comparison, George Washington issued eight EOs, and Thomas Jefferson signed only four.
In Obama’s case, his views about the proper role Congress should play in creating or challenging laws were made clear in a March 6 press conference when he said:
“If Congress refuses to act, I’ve said that I’ll continue to do everything in my power to act without them.”
For instance, since Congress wouldn’t pass a cap-and-trade environmental bill, he used the Environmental Protection Agency to make its own rules through the Clean Air Act. Cap and trade refers to a complicated system that involves setting pre-determined limits on carbon emissions produced by factories.
When the American people resisted the DREAM Act, Obama turned to an executive order that granted blanket immunity for a million illegal aliens. And rather than going to Congress to get approval under the War Powers Act prior to last year’s Libyan invasion, the White House went to the UN to get approval for war.
But while Obama’s frequent use of EOs is not unprecedented, the scope of the new rules he makes pushes the envelope for just how far a president can go in making his own decrees.
Continue reading “Victor Thorn ~ Executive Orders: Their Use And Abuse By Many U.S. Presidents”