How Executive Orders Work

How Executive Orders Work



On February 19, 1942, two months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. In this one-page decree, the president used his authority as the commander-in-chief to authorize the U.S. military to “exclude” 122,000 Japanese Americans — more than half of them U.S. citizens — from their homes and businesses and relocate them to isolated and desolate internment camps [source: Our Documents]. A month later, Congress passed Public Law 503, making it a federal offense to disobey the president’s executive order.

An executive order, also known as a proclamation, is a directive handed down directly from a president or governor (the executive branch of government) without input from the legislative or judicial branches. Executive orders can only be given to federal or state agencies, not to citizens, although citizens are indirectly affected by them.

Executive orders have been used by every American president since George Washington to lead the nation through times of war, to respond to natural disasters and economic crises, to encourage or discourage regulation by federal agencies, to promote civil rights, or in the case of the Japanese internment camps, to revoke civil rights. Executive orders can also be used by governors to direct state agencies, often in response to emergencies, but also to promote the governor’s own regulatory and social policies.

There is no specific mention of executive orders in the U.S. Constitution. Instead, presidents argue that the power to make executive orders is implied in the following statements contained in Article II of the Constitution:

Governors use similar interpretations of their state constitutions to justify the legality of executive orders.

Critics of executive orders argue that these unilateral decrees undermine our trusted system of checks and balances, giving undue authority to the executive branch. For that reason, executive orders are considered a form of “executive legislation” [source: Contrubis]. In recent years, both presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have wielded executive orders as political weapons to push through controversial policies or regulations without Congressional or judicial oversight. Executive orders can be overruled by the courts or nullified by legislators after the fact, but until then they carry the full weight of federal and state law [source: Contrubis].

To better understand the controversial and colorful history of executive orders in the United States, let’s start at the beginning, with George Washington himself.

Print |
Citation & Date |







10 Things You Didn’t Know About the U.S. Constitution

How the U.S. President Works

How Presidential Pardons Work




Get the best of HowStuffWorks by email!

Keep up to date on: Latest Buzz · Stuff Shows & Podcasts · Tours · Weird & Wacky

Copyright © 2019 HowStuffWorks, a division of InfoSpace Holdings, LLC, a System1 Company

How Executive Orders Work

Research & References of How Executive Orders Work|A&C Accounting And Tax Services

33 Thoughts to “How Executive Orders Work”

  1. erection pills that work

    gnc ed pills

  2. cheap erectile dysfunction

    cheapest ed pills online

  3. Real cialis online

    generic cialis online

  4. generic vardenafil

    vardenafil for sale

  5. wind creek casino online play

    best slots to play online

  6. viagra discount

    sildenafil citrate

  7. real money casino app

    online casinos real money

  8. casimba online casino

    Fat on stream Casino sites amidst mammoth special compensation shirley online sports betting international online casino canadian real money slots licensed perk for original competitor

  9. slots jackpot online casino

    Fat operative Casino sites upon jumbo additional compensation best online casino slot madness gold coast hotel las vegas confined hand-out for contemporary athlete

  10. springbok casino coupons 2019

    Elite wired Casino web sites upon heavy-duty perk online casino ac go wild casino csgo gambling paypal deposit online casino games mobile independent premium for unusual participant

  11. best real casino online

    online casinos real money

  12. cialis pill

    buying cialis online safely

Leave a Comment