Constitution explicit about executive orders

newsroom@islandpacket.comMay 29, 2014 

Many people erroneously believe that President Obama's use of executive orders is unconstitutional. Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives the president the power to "take care that the laws are faithfully executed," and has been used by every president since George Washington.

Obama issued 147 orders his first term, the fewest by any president since Grover Cleveland. In his first term, Ronald Reagan issued 381, and both Bushes issued 166 and 291 respectively.

Last year Congress had the distinction of having the least number of bills passed (58) in history, even beating the "Do Nothing Congress" of 1947-48. As a result, Obama has felt compelled to act independently to ensure that the government continues to run. Working with the obstructionist Republican House members has been futile.

Historically, some of the executive orders have been profound: Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation; FDR's Works Progress Administration (WPA); and Harry Truman's desegregation of the Armed Forces.

As president, Obama has the right as well as the duty and obligation to execute what needs to be done to keep the country running.

Philip W. Wolfe


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