Executive orders are common place
All but the most fanatic historical revisionist believes Article II, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution authorizes presidential executive orders.
As well as the chief law enforcement officer, the president may issue executive orders acting as commander in chief, head of state, and head of the Executive Branch. Obviously, the commander in chief must give executive orders. The Executive Branch nor the State Department would function well without routine executive orders from the president.
The most famous executive orders is the Emancipation Proclamation. It freed all slaves living in the Confederacy. It didn’t free slaves in other states which permitted slavery but had not seceded from the Union. Lincoln believed it would speed up the end of the Civil War; in that regard he was most likely acting as commander in chief.
An infamous executive orders was issued by Franklin D. Roosevelt in February 1942 at the urging of Gov. Earl Warren of California, which Warren later regretted. It authorized the relocation and internment of Japanese
Americans during World War II. Sixty percent were U.S. citizens. After nearly four years the Supreme Court found the internment unconstitutional. The last of those imprisoned weren’t freed until 1946. Most had lost everything they owned. I recommend a movie, “Come See the Paradise,” which uses this tragedy as a setting for a beautiful love story.
One of FDR’s most effective executive orders was signed in 1935, it established the Works Program Administration (WPA), the lynch pin of the New Deal. It put millions to work building projects such as dams, bridges and roadways. We could use another executive orders like that today.
In 1948, Congress refused an executive orders by President Harry S. Truman to desegregate the Armed Forces. Some Southern Democrats, led by South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond, used this, along with a civil rights clause in the Democrats platform, as reason to form a new party, The States Rights Party, commonly called Dixiecrats. They soon became Republicans.
Franklin D. Roosevelt issued 3,522 executive orders, but he was in his fourth term when he died. Wilson was next with 1,803. Calvin Coolidge had 1,203, Theodore Roosevelt signed 1,081, Herbert Hoover 968, and
Harry S. Truman 907. More recently Ronald Reagan signed 381 executive orders, including the firing of most of the nation’s air traffic controllers who took part in a strike. Bill Clinton issued 364, one of which protected workers against genetic discrimination. George W. Bush issued 291, some regarding secret gathering of information, including an executive order establishing the now controversial, although I think necessary, National Security Agency (NSA).
President Obama has issued only 168. There is no truth to a scurrilous Internet article stating he has issued 933 executive orders. The ones they list are contrived and ridiculous. The president’s use of executive orders is consistent with past presidents. President Obama is not lawless, imperialistic or a dictator. Those hurling those disgusting epithets are asinine fools. Some factually illiterate dupes actually believe them.
I’ve read a brief synopsis of every Obama executive order and couldn’t find one which would cause a reasonable person apoplexy. During his first day in office, he signed an executive order banning water boarding and interrogation procedures not in the Army field manual. He ordered government salaries frozen, then issued an order preventing the revolving door of people who immediately segue from government to lobbying. Good for him.
He should have issued more.
A few noteworthy Obama executive orders are removing stem cell research barriers; placing abortion restrictions in the ACA; and preparing the U.S. for impacts from climate change. Most were routine, carried out without controversy, such as ordering reserves to active duty to assist in Haiti’s earthquake aftermath; accelerating deployment of broadband infrastructure; imposing sanctions on Iran; and establishing the Veterans Small Business Development Task Force.
Hardly earth shattering.
The most controversial is the president’s threat to issue executive orders if Congress refuses to take action on his meager gun proposals. He wants background checks, mental health initiatives and a halt to illegal foreign trafficking of guns. The president has made it clear he would prefer Congress take action, but if they won’t, which is a reasonable supposition, he will act as the law will allow.
He has stated emphatically he has no intention of violating the Second Amendments right to bear arms. No one is taking law abiding citizen’s guns away. No one. The unjustifiable fear of confiscation sends many gun fanatics unnecessarily into hysteria. Promoting this unreasonable fear is a tactic used by the NRA to promote gun sales. That’s their purpose in life.
Glen McAdoo, a Fallon resident, can be contacted at email@example.com.