Robert Winner


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Presidential Executive Orders

Executive Orders have been in place since 1789 ... they were to help officers of the Executive Brance in the performance of their duties.

Currently we are seeing Executive Orders as a means of by passing Congress.

Nancy Polsi and Harry Reid are proposing to the President that he use the Executive Order to take over the management and funding of the National Debit Ceiling.

The debate is :

1. What do you know about Executive Orders

2. Do you think it is or has been abused

3. Should it be limited only to the Executive branch

4. Do you think it should be used to by pass Congress.

5. Does it defeat the intent of the three seperate divisions of Government and the check and balance system.

This is not a political party bashing party ... it is about Executive Orders.

  • Jan 11 2013: No one else has mentioned this yet so I'm gonna say it: every action by the executive branch, even ordering pens for the secretaries, is in a way an executive order. Where you put the line between ordinary functioning of the executive and an executive order is very much arbitrary.
    • Jan 12 2013: I must disagree. An executive order is signed by the President. There are many other orders, directives, regulations, guidelines, policies, procedures and whatnot that are published throughout the executive branch that clearly are not executive orders. As Mr.Long points out, the terms we use are important for clear communication. Please see
      • Jan 12 2013: That's circular reasoning: the president has to sign an order when congress decides to make a fuss about an unsigned order and then you and congress say it is therefore, naturally, an executive order. Congress effectively decides when something becomes an executive order: no order is inherently an executive order until congress objects to it. If congress had not objected to the desegregation of the military then the military would have been desegregated by a normal order, but because congress decided to put up a fight the military was desegregated through an executive order, there was no part of the constitution that said desegregation of the military could only happen through an executive order.
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    Jan 10 2013: 1) Until 1-hour ago nothing. (Ain't the interweb grand)?
    2) Only twice. One by Truman and one by Clinton.
    3)No. Inter-branch clarification of ambiguous laws and facilitation of implementation is often best for the nation.
    4)No. The legislative Branch makes laws. The Executive Branch carries them out.
    5)If the EO appears to do so it will be challenged and overturned. . . by check and balance.
    Most recent POTUS' use EO's 40-50 times a year. Carter issued almost 80 per year. FDR is the champ @ 285+ per year for each of his 12 years in office (3,466 total)! George W. and Barak Hussein are the most miserly ever with 36 per year (so far). Going back to FDR Democrats have used 76% (5,720) of the total EO's (7,529).
    • Jan 11 2013: "2) Only twice. One by Truman and one by Clinton."

      To which executive orders do you refer?
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        Jan 11 2013: Truman tried to nationalize all US steel mills by EO. It was overturned.
        Clinton tried to refuse government contracts to any company having strike breakers on their payroll. It was overturned. Also, 2 things: you say every act by POTUS is an EO? Not true. An EO is a unique, original recorded document which is archived and available to the public (so you can look-up the 2 EO numbers if you like). Also, any sitting POTUS can overturn ANY previous EO at will.
        • Jan 11 2013: Officially an EO is a unique document but unofficially any initiative within the executive branch can be construed as an EO. After all, congress didn't order the department of housing to buy a certain number of pens from a certain brand.
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        Jan 11 2013: Not everything a chicken produces is an egg. We use terms to differentiate between things like eggs and chicken manure. Honor terms sir, it makes life more tasteful and less confusing. What went on between Clinton and Monica was not an EO, but it was a Clinton initiative.
        • Jan 11 2013: It's not like eggs and manure: when in 1947 the US army joined two white battalions to improve efficiency no EO was needed, when it wanted to join a black battalion with a white battalion this suddenly required an EO. Congress didn't (and still doesn't) get involved with such practical military decisions, except when there were people of different races involved. If that doesn'strike you as a completely arbitrary line between what is an EO and what is not then I don't know what will.
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        Jan 11 2013: They have no jurisdiction or authority so Congress never gets involved with EO's, it's not in their pay grade. I have lost connection with the OP so I am outta here!
        • Jan 11 2013: Congress gets involved in whatever it is the EO forces through and then calls it an "overreach" of the executive branch, an EO is only issued when congress puts up a fight. The military segregation issue shows how arbitrary this process is and thus that it's disingenous to put the blame squarely with the executive branch. When the legislative branch tries to make us take automatically take their side they're playing on are ancient associations of the executive branch with cruel kings and aristocrats of history.
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    Jan 10 2013: .

    1. More than most

    2. Yes

    3. Yes

    4. If that is what it takes to force productivity on a government body exhibiting extreme incompetence such as is the current state in the US, then YES.

    5. What it defeats, and was meant to defeat, is literally years of inaction and incompetence by a branch of government locked in an irresponsible and adolescent test of wills at the expense of an entire country's needs and expectations.
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      Jan 10 2013: Ye Gads man! You are advocating a catastrophic restructuring of the U.S. government. The President is, by design, the least powerful of elected officials because he/she could easily become too powerful if allowed to make, or interpret law.
  • Jan 10 2013: Executive orders and their foreign counterparts were designed to allow the executive a limited legislative role with regards to the functions of the executive itself. When Truman used an executive order to force the desegration of the US military he still could not force the desegregation of private businesses. Without executive orders the legislative branch would almost fully control the executive branch (they could take issues hostage) and even if the legislative branch doesn't do that on purpose the executive branch would still be bogged down hopelessly because the legislative branch takes ages to take decisions and when a compromise is finally reached it's often useless. I think it's safe to say the executive branch has been on the right side of history more often than the legislative branch. Besides, the supreme court can stop an executive order.
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    Gail .

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    Jan 10 2013: At the time that George WAshington issued the first executive order (1789), it was perfectly legal for him to do so. But when in December of 1991 came along, the Bill of Rights was ratified, and the Bill of Rights makes it clear that government an have no power unless granted it by the constitution. As of that date, executive orders were no longer legal. If you look at the executive powers in the constitution, you will see that the president was intentionally made the least powerful person in the then-defined government.

    Were it not for the 1819 coup d'etat, the practice would not have grown into the monster that it is today. Today, congress keeps mostly silent about such unconstitutional practices because they want their party's president to have powers to defeat the other side. Both sides are wrong. G. W. Bush took executive orders to an EXTREME. He made FDR and Lincoln look like wimps. It set a precedent that does not bode well for our country.
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      Jan 11 2013: I assume you are referring to content not quantity when you say Geoge W. made FDR look wimpy regarding using the EO privilege. FDR wrote 3,466 EO's in his role as POTUS (that's 285 per year average). G.W. wrote 290 (that's 36 per year). What actions do you feel made G.W. an "extremist" in the EO department? What "precedent" did he set?
  • Jan 10 2013: I do not know much about Executive Orders, but over the years I have read quite a bit about the division of powers established by the Constitution, and this topic should be debated within that context. This is my understanding of this topic:

    The original intention was that the three branches would be as independent as possible, with no branch having any authority over the other two branches. (In practice it has not worked out exactly that way.) In the Constitution, the Legislature makes the laws and the President carries them out. However, if the President does not carry out the laws, the ONLY recourse is impeachment. I think it is safe to say that this was deliberate. The Supreme Court can decide whether or not the President is breaking a law, or not enforcing a law, but the Supreme Court has no police power to enforce its decisions.

    This arrangement has set up a power struggle among the three branches. Presidential power, especially, has been an issue throughout the history of the country. I have read more than once that no President wants to leave the presidency weaker as a result of his term.

    Executive Orders direct the activities of the members of the Executive Branch. If the President orders something that is clearly illegal, Congress can impeach the President. If the President orders something that is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court could negate the Executive Order by issuing a court order. The Supreme Court would do this only if it considered the matter very important, because it would set up a direct power struggle between the branches of government, and the employees of the Executive Branch are far more likely to follow the orders of the person who ultimately controls their paychecks. This leaves the President with a very broad area of authority.

    1. Not much.

    2. Don't know. Probably.

    3. It think it already is and should be.

    4. Rarely, but especially when a situation requires immediate action.

    5. No..
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      Jan 10 2013: U.S. presidents have issued executive orders since 1785. Although there is no Constitutional provision or statute that explicitly permits executive orders, 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 5. Most Executive Orders use these Constitutional reasonings as the authorization allowing for their issuance to be justified as part of the President's sworn duties,[2] the intent being to help direct officers of the U.S. Executive carry out their delegated duties as well as the normal operations of the federal government: the consequence of failing to comply possibly being the removal from office

      SCOTUS, Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926), Majority Opinion.
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        Gail .

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        Jan 10 2013: The problem with the 1785 date is that there was no "United States of America" (a country) at that time. There was only a confederacy of independently sovereign nations who were signers of a trade/defense treaty. The Articles of Confederation were replaced by the Constitution in 1789. But the Constitution was overhauled in 1791 with the passage of the Bill of Rights, that denied government the right to give itself powers (10th amendment).

        The reference to SCOTUS in this matter is only possible because SCOTUS threw out the Constitution as the law of the land in 1819 (McCulloch v Maryland), declared that the constitution is not law, but a guideline, that the Bill of Rights are not law but merely suggestions, that British Common Law trumps constitutional mandates and

        Where the 10th amendment says that government can have no power unless granted it by the constitution, SCOTUS declared that it means that government shall have EVERY power unless SPECIFICALLY denied it by the constitution - BUT EVEN THEN - it can assume powers based on the (then unconstitutional) idea of "implied powers" as well as the "necessary powers" clause. But something doesn't have to be necessary for the necessary powers clause to be invoked. Even in the presence of clear evidence of constitutional alternatives, congress can assume whatever powers it wants if it wants to call them necessary.

        SCOTUS didn't have the power to do this. The reason that previous controversies regarding the national bank hadn't made it to the supreme court was because the Federal Judiciary Acts prohibited it from doing what it did. This ASSUMPTION of ungranted and unconstitutional powers by SCOTUS was a coup d'etat. The decision is proof of that.

        Given that it was a coup d'etat, that throws out what came before and today, presidents can do anything that they can get away with - under the guise of executive orders.
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    Jan 10 2013: Headlines: "Biden: Obama exploring executive orders to combat gun violence"
    Is this what this question is really about?

    "The president is going to act. Executive orders, executive action, can be taken," Biden told reporters before meetings with groups representing survivors of mass shootings. "We haven't decided what this is yet, but we're compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the Cabinet members."
    Legislative action also is needed, Biden said.
    "I'm convinced we can affect the well-being of millions of Americans, and take thousands of people out of harm's way, if we act responsibly," he said."

    We will see.
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      Jan 10 2013: So that's why he flew back to Hawaii, to await a new year push?

      Theo, would it work?
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      Jan 10 2013: I had not heard that ... however, if it involves the use of Executive Orders to go around Congress then yes that is what the conversation is about.

      Since Executive orders are used by all presidents it is not limited to just this administration. I am concerned that it is either abused or is potentially going to be abused.

      If I support or do not support gun control ... what is the proper means of dealing with it ... in the past that has always been through legislation by Congress the representatives of the people.

      That is what I understand the three branches of government do ... provide a check and balance. The power to do what ever the current president wants with no legislative input is not the basis of our system of government in my opinion. The Executive, Legislative, and Judical each have assigned powers under the Constitution.

      Thanks for your question and reply.

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    Jan 9 2013: Just out of curiosity, Hasn't "O" used all his EO cards already? I mean, I'm sure you posted on here before that he's used more EO's than any other President before him.
    • Jan 10 2013: He probably did that because the republican congress used the largest number of filibusters and other delaying tactics in history.

      Apparently it has come to the point where a president, who would be considered moderate in the US of the 1980s and 1990s and still is considered a moderate everywhere in the world except for countries ruled by Islamic versions of the republican party, has to use executive orders just to get stuff done.