Confusion on Executive Orders

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I'm looking for some clarification in a certain feature of the American system of governance: the executive order. I'm sure that WB contributors can answer my questions.

 

It is my understanding that the American president is far from a dictator, forcing his will on the people for the four years after his inauguration. To enact his or her political agenda, the president has work with Congress to get things done. Congress is one of those checks-and-balances to thwart a dictator-like thinking. The greater presidents were pretty skillful and used various talents to getting majority votes in both houses in Congress. But these political masters also understood they couldn't push things fully their way.  They knew where the informal boundaries were--both in Congress and with the public. Hence, the greater presidents kind of got things done their way, but compromises were made.

 

I also understood that the executive part of governance sometimes requires decisions to be made on a fairly immediate basis. To put all decisions in the hands of Congress means certain decisions which need to be made on a timely basis will not made on a timely basis.

 

So the president has the authority to make some decisions without the approval of Congress. I don't see the exact presidential jurisdiction in the Constitution, so I am surmising that the boundaries for the president to make decisions without Congress have been previously determined by Congress. But I could be wrong here.

 

When a president makes such a decision, it is known as an executive order.

 

Coming from Canada and only occasionally watching American news outlets, I can't recall executive orders being issued that much. From what I can gather, Mr. Obama was pretty good at issuing these executive orders in his two terms, whereas previous presidents were fairly hesitant about using this power. Mr. Trump, by using so many executive orders, is only continuing Mr. Obama's legacy. But I could be wrong here.

 

About a month ago, Mr. Trump issued an executive order that allowed petroleum companies to develop more oilfields on both the west and east coast. To my way of thinking, this was not a decision that should be regarded as timely: it will take five to ten years to bring any new oilfields into production. So a six-month delay to get approval from Congress is a moot point. But why is this realm of governance given to executive order? Especially when tax cuts require approval of Congress?

 

Is there any way to rescind an executive order? Other than elect a different president who will sign another executive order to rescind the previous order?

 

What does it say about the state of democracy when governance by executive order becomes the normal operations in USA?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Doug Plumb Added Mar 7, 2018 - 12:29pm
The War Powers Act is why the country has gone non constitutional. Executive orders are one example. The USA has been fighting wars for the banks since World War 1, after the signing of the Federal Reserve Act. The administrative state first came in with Roosevelt (1933 bankruptcy) and came into full fruition in 1947, the Administrative Procedures Act. Administrative law is a system that operates under presumptions that may or may not violate your common law rights.
Extracting income tax money from your pay is an example of administrative law. It is also how the dark state is funded. Not a nickle of it pays for the highways. It violates common law rights but companies who operate by the laws of man operate without reason. To exist, they believe, they must take your income tax money.
What the Jew steals, he may keep, according to Talmudic law. We have Jewish money so we have Jewish courts disguised as Christian ones. Money is law. Without money there can be no law and visa versa.
The administrative state was necessary to fund the wars and bring education and medicine under government control.
 
 Lighthouse Law, on youtube explains much of this. There are many sources where people are learning common law, asking these questions and getting answers. Lighthouse law is one particularly good example that doesn't venture into an undisciplined look and application of "sovereign" law. All of the folks looking at law are good people, have some good information and mean well. They face persecution (as well as being labeled "paper terrorists") and they are wrong about most of what they do. These are the best of people in our society today, not soldiers, rock stars or hockey players.
You aren't going to learn about the law from establishment sources, or establishment attorneys. Attorneys are not lawyers.
Tubularsock Added Mar 7, 2018 - 12:32pm
David, great questions. Executive orders have always been a curious format for advancing a particular agenda.
 
But two things, both Congress and the Supreme Court have the power to negate a Presidential Executive Order if it is “out of line”.
 
However neither of these bodies normally have the guts or fortitude to pull that off but it has been done. The Supreme Court did alter an executive order back in the Truman days, Tubularsock believes, but can’t remember off hand what that was all about but should be easy to find.
 
Starting with George Washington forward the executive order has been used and that power comes from an interpretation of Article II of the U.S. Constitution concerning “executive powers in the President” but there is no specific provision authorizing the issuance of executive orders.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 7, 2018 - 12:41pm
Executive powers are powers that a government has by virtue of being the sovereign (any law book will say this). However, these executive orders cannot violate the common law.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 7, 2018 - 12:46pm
You have the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government that form the Holy Trinity. Legislative is law, according to common law, executive is to deal with issues of men and the judiciary operates as the conscience. It has final say about everything. The Trinity is law (government/law), reason (Original sin - must obey laws of men and God) and conscience (the holy ghost)
Doug Plumb Added Mar 7, 2018 - 12:48pm
Re " reason (Original sin - must obey laws of men and God) and conscience (the holy ghost) "
should read
" reason (Mens concerns: Original sin - must obey laws of men and God) and conscience (the holy ghost) - as judiciary.
 
 
Pardero Added Mar 7, 2018 - 12:49pm
Dave,
Your understanding exceeds that of most Americans, probably including myself. 
The executive branch has grown far too strong and needs to be reined in, no matter what party is in power. No one ever abused the executive order as much as Obama, but the trend was there before he took power.  I was outraged by younger Bush's 'signing statements'.
The judicial branch has been compromised by ideologue activist judges. 
A lot of us have little faith in a weakened, irrational, and extremely polarized legislative branch. 
Many believe that only a benevolent dictator could get us out of the mess. I am no historian, but the likes of Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius seem to be rather uncommon. Not to mention, the Scots may have a different opinion of those
'good' emperors.
opher goodwin Added Mar 7, 2018 - 1:14pm
A fascinating question Dave. 
 
Dino Manalis Added Mar 7, 2018 - 1:39pm
Executive orders are being executed more and more often, because presidents have found executive orders much easier than compromising and passing through both houses of Congress.  What a shame!
Bill Kamps Added Mar 7, 2018 - 4:40pm
Dave, the President cant create an EO that violates a law or the Constitution.  His EO can be challenged and overturned in the courts, and his EO can be overturned by Congress, by himself, or another President.   So in reality they dont have a lot of staying power, like a real law passed by Congress.
 
It is kind of a murky area, what the limits are, for what he can do.  Generally the courts are the first line of defense because they work quickly.  As you saw with  the immigration ban, it was quickly attacked and put on hold in the courts. 
 
Presidents have been using them more, because they lack the skill to get things through Congress, and because the parties in Congress have stopped working together.  They use them for political benefit, to "get something done" when they think they  need some kind of boost with some constituency.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 7, 2018 - 5:23pm
The sovereign can do whatever it wants, that is basic law, in any law book. The USA is not sovereign, the banks are. The banks can force the prez to do what they want, or they can screw around with interest rates and collapse the economy. So the president never goes against the banks.
TexasLynn Added Mar 7, 2018 - 6:34pm
Dave, Really good article... great points and great questions.
 
It also hard for me to comment after Pardero and Bill, other than to say ditto.
 
The executive order was intended to make decisions that needed to be made quickly in order to facilitate running the government; what the executive is supposed to do.
 
The problem is, that more and more presidents used it for other reasons such as frustration that Congress would not or could not act on something.  The frustration is understandable, but the reaction (EOs) is an abuse of power. 
 
Each President wasn't really challenged on this; so it just encouraged more abuse with each successive President.  Obama was the pinnacle of this abuse and Trump hasn't been much better.
 
Governance by executive order is little better than banana republic fiat.  As with most problems within the federal government.  It's time to go back to original intent (and limitations) at all levels and within all branches.
 
Now, I'm going to lean back in my chair and hold my breath until that happens. :)
Jeff Michka Added Mar 7, 2018 - 7:04pm
But Bill: Dave, the President cant create an EO that violates a law or the Constitution.-This denies the rightist narrative on how Barack Obama took everyone's rights away with EOs...what you folks gonna do?!!!
Jeff Michka Added Mar 7, 2018 - 7:06pm
Oh, I'm sure Lynn will tell us about how O destroyed the Bill of Rights with EOs....
George N Romey Added Mar 7, 2018 - 7:16pm
Another sign that government isn’t functioning, which the ruling class loves.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 7, 2018 - 8:48pm
It really just helps to understand basic law and the basic structure of government. Complaining doesn't help, do something. Learn at least what the problem is and why. I think I'm just talking over everyone's head by explaining the basics of government, finance and law.
Dave Volek Added Mar 8, 2018 - 12:02am
Thanks everyone for your insights. I was under the impression that Congress had defined some limits on executive orders (maybe 20 or 50 years ago) and the president was obligated to stay within those limits. This seems not the case, as the executive order for offshore drilling decision really wasn't all that "timely"---and probably should have been handled in Congress.
 
It seems presidents can decree whatever they want--and wait to see if the checks-and-balances kick in later.
 
 
Even A Broken Clock Added Mar 8, 2018 - 10:20am
Dave, others have commented on the current situation about executive orders. I'll just add some historical perspective on this.
 
What was the most famous executive order ever made by a President? I would maintain that it was the Emancipation Proclamation, which was an executive order. There was no underlying legislation, it was an action taken strictly by the executive branch.
Katharine Otto Added Mar 8, 2018 - 11:40am
Dave,
It sees a whole slew of presidents have expanded executive power, and Congress and the Supreme Courts have generally allowed them to get away with it.  If they do act to oppose it, it's often too late.  The damage has been done.  I understand the tariffs on steel and aluminum that Trump just decreed were enabled by Congress some years back.  The idea was that the president could impose arbitrary tariffs in the interest of "national security."
 
But the Constitution says it's Congress' job to declare war.  Congress hasn't declared war since the second world war, but it's willing to fund wars the president wants.  The Supreme Court sits on its thumbs and waits for Joe Taxpayer to bring a lawsuit against this flagrant violation of the Constitution, so the Supreme Court is complicit.
 
I agree with Doug Plumb above that the bankers are running the show.  The banks and stock markets profit whether we as a nation win or lose.
George N Romey Added Mar 8, 2018 - 11:46am
And Katharine with the Fed’s plunge protection team the bankers will get all they want. There is no free market, just a ginned up guarantee for the richest of the rich.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 8, 2018 - 12:34pm
Catharine Austin Fitts is, I think, the best and most informed source on matters of the Fed and economics. Then she starts talking about flying saucers...like so many who understand the financial system. I don't believe in little green men, but the Report From Iron Mountain says we all will.
How to sort it out ? Read books older than 100 years old - its the only way.
Bill Kamps Added Mar 8, 2018 - 1:01pm
This denies the rightist narrative on how Barack Obama took everyone's rights away with EOs...what you folks gonna do?!!!
 
I should rephrase this.  The President can make an EO on ANYTHING.  However, if he goes too far, which of course is subject to interpretation, they he will be stopped in the  courts.
 
If the Right is complaining that Obama stepped over the line on what he could do, then the Right should have found a sympathetic Attorney General and judge to take their case to court.  There are plenty of judges and AGs that have right leanings, they only needed one in Federal court.  The left didnt have a problem finding a court to delay the immigration EO of Trump. 
 
MEFOBILLS Added Mar 8, 2018 - 2:13pm
Doug,
When many hyper-rational people talk about little "green men" and when the Air Force actually funds studies to look into events they cannot explain, then your response should not be "I don't believe it."
 
Catharine Austin Fitts is, I think, the best and most informed source on matters of the Fed and economics. Then she starts talking about flying saucers...like so many who understand the financial system. I don't believe in little green men, but the Report From Iron Mountain says we all will
 
The proper response is "I don't know, but there is room for doubt."  There has even been high level military reports to Congress about aliens shutting down nuclear missile sites. 
 
So, the question is really, How is it that Catharine Fitts is rational in one area and irrational in another?  That does't fit.  She may also be privy to information that you don't have.
 
I probably know as much about finance as Catharine, and she is mostly on target.  It's not bragging when it is a fact.
 
My answer is "I don't know, but there is room for doubt."  She also has insider connections that I don't have.
Dave Volek Added Mar 8, 2018 - 4:35pm
Katherine et al
It seems finding a sympathetic judge can shut down an EO. There are lots of judges--and as we know--lawyers often have a lot of disagreement within their profession. It should not be hard for any R or any D president to have their EOs shut down (at least for a short time). This seems to be the likely route for American politics to totally disable an president--as it seems Congress is less likely to work together than even a decade ago.
 
If Congress is called to shut down an EO, would it need the both houses to effect the shut down, or is just one house needed?
 
 
Doug Plumb Added Mar 8, 2018 - 9:30pm
re "The proper response is "I don't know, but there is room for doubt."  There has even been high level military reports to Congress about aliens shutting down nuclear missile sites. "
 
There is no room for doubts about little green men. The propaganda state has been preparing us for it for years. Its a planned scam, its written about in the Report From Iron Mountain. All of the bullshit is preplanned and they write about it - if this doesn't work we will try this, etc. The Report says first try environmentalism, if that doesn't work, try the green men and flying saucers, if that doesn't work, put Jesus and Mohammed in the sky with Operation Blue Beam. They tell you everything they are going to do. See Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars, The Next Global Revolution, Clive and Pivens....The list is endless. For some reason, and no one knows why, they fundamentally/ethically believe that they have to tell us what they are going to do.
 
"So, the question is really, How is it that Catharine Fitts is rational in one area and irrational in another?  That does't fit.  She may also be privy to information that you don't have."
 
Or she is part of the false narrative, like so many are. Tell you 90 % of a truth that you can see then squeeze in 10 % bullshit. Many do this, Alex Jones, Stephan Molyneux, there is a whole slew of them. This is what the CIA does - create bullshit and train bullshit artists.
 
re "I probably know as much about finance as Catharine, and she is mostly on target.  It's not bragging when it is a fact."
 
Fitts has a mathematical/logical way about her that is combined with an ability to explain things that is among the best I have heard. Few people could claim to have her mind.
 
MEFOBILLS Added Mar 8, 2018 - 10:46pm
Doug,
There is no way to know if Fits is accurate or if you are. 
 
This is a big problem with the modern world, in that there is no anchor for people to hold on to.  With no anchor, then anything can go, anything can gain credence.
 
I would like to see a public/private media come into existence.  The government has to power to re-auction the public air waves.  In other words it would be a new Fox or ABC, that is not fully private, but instead the public holds some percentage of the stock.  The public money then vectors toward citizen statesmen who become truth seekers.
 
In effect, truth seekers would vet stories and news items, to then gain high trust for the viewership.  It would take investigative journalism, and hence money flowing in as the profits are aimed at the investigators, some of whom may be volunteers. 
 
Private people like yourself could be part of the solution, where you investigate stories for their veracity.  The profits are to fund a citizen army of investigators.
 
I do agree, Fits has a great mind.  It is within statistical probability, although unlikely, that in a very rare case - somebody will show up on the back pages of an obscure website, who has a high level of knowledge.  Forget I maid a claim.  Usually people who make claims shouldn't.  I usually don't mention it, and I slipped.
 
 
Doug Plumb Added Mar 9, 2018 - 6:40am
I would not make a good investigative journalist. If the system ever got fixed I'd do engineering - applied math. Failing that, I would teach philosophy if they would let me.