Executive Orders

We’ve all heard about executive orders, and most of us have some knowlege of what they are. Basically, most people think that executive orders are when the President speaks and what he wants becomes law. This is how most Americans perceive executive orders.

As a matter of fact, though, this is incorrect. Executive orders are not the president’s will becoming law; they’re not back doors to passing laws without Congress.

An executive order is best defined as a “clarification” or an “expression.” When the President gives an executive order, it is a clarification of a certain law, an expression as to how he wants that law to work.  In short, it is how the President wants a “checked-and-balanced,” legal, congressional law done. That executive order is how you are going to accomplish a congressional law.

This means that a President cannot use the executive order process to make his own laws. If the President passes an executive order that, say, bans abortion in all forms, it would not be valid. That ban is not an “execution” of a current congressional law.

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