Presidents have been issuing executive orders since 1789 even though the Constitution does not explicitly give them the right to do so. However, vague wording in Article II Section 1 and Article II Section 2 gives the president this privilege. Executive orders also include National Security directives and Homeland Security Presidential Directives.
A well-referenced Wikipedia entry further illustrates the point:
Although there is no constitutional provision nor 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, 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
Throughout history, Executive Orders have been responsible, at times, for drastically altering the lives of the American populace. Perhaps the most heinous example being EO 9066, issued by Franklin D. Roosevelt, which was ultimately responsible for the internment of more than 60,000 American citizens of Japanese descent, and over 10,000 of German and Italian ancestry. That seems like a lot of power in the hands of one man and his administration. Unfortunately, it seems that the use of Executive Orders is set to increase, further eroding the Constitutional principles that this nation was founded upon.
In a recent article published by the Daily Caller, Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has promised to give Obama a number of Executive Orders to sign; in fact, stating that Executive Orders should be number one on the agenda for her newly formed Full Employment Caucus.
To give you an example of how Obama has used this extraordinary power in the past, one only needs to look here. In this case, Obama exercised Executive Privilege, but it really amounts to a de facto Executive Order. The abuse of EO’s, by this administration, is particularly alarming when one discovers Obama’s history of deceit.
Are Executive Orders leading our nation into bondage? I suppose that if for each one of us to decide. I do know, however, whenever a president of any nation can rule by fiat, that their actions are protected by the very office that they serve, that nation is on a slippery slope to dictatorship. Allow me to leave you with the words of one of our greatest Founding Fathers:
“Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day. But a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers (administrations), too plainly proves a deliberate systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.” – Thomas JeffersonAbout Jim White