Musings by Marian

Reflections from the Golden Years


October 25, 2016


According to Wikipedia, executive orders were granted to the president in order to: “. . .  help officers and agencies of the executive branch manage the operations within the federal government itself. Executive orders have the full force of law when they take authority from a legislative power which grants its power directly to the Executive by the Constitution, or are made pursuant to Acts of Congress that explicitly delegate to the President some degree of discretionary power (delegated legislation).

The Federal Register begins with Executive Order 7316 of March 13, 1936.

In granting this power, assumptions were made that every president would consider himself (or herself) bound by the limitations described above. Executive orders were never meant to be a scepter to allow a dictator to rule with a pen and a phone, thus bypassing the limitations described in the first paragraph.

The old saying:” if you assume you make an ass/out of/u/and/me” is nowhere more applicable than in government.

False assumption number 1: No president elected by the people would dare step over the line and use Executive Orders to become a dictator.

False assumption number 2: The legislative branch and the judicial branch would always serve to restrain illegal seizure of power by the executive branch.

False assumption number 3: The fifth estate—the media—will always work to expose illegal activity in any of the branches by any party.

Now that it has been amply demonstrated there are elected presidents willing to short-circuit the system to gain powers never delegated to them, the time has come to get rid of executive orders.

In the past this would have been an impossible sale. For example, when a party is in of power they yearn for an end to the filibuster. Harry Reid for instance is a big proponent until he had to sit on the other side of the table and then he is gung-ho for it again. Nothing is ever done, because when you restrain the other party your own party faces the same restraints when you gain the upper hand again.

There has never been a better time to push for severe restrictions on executive orders. If Trump is elected, the Republican establishment will suddenly have a “come to Jesus” moment and get on board.

If the various agencies have become so unwieldy they cannot function without micro-managing from the president, it is high time to cull and reform them.

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