Executive Orders are Presidential decrees that have the force and effect of law. Presidential orders do not require prior consent or ratification from Congress, Judiciary, or the People of the United States. Executive Orders can dismantle or rescind prior presidential executive orders and many legal scholars argue, by doing so, effectively make new law.
Executive Orders, however, can be subsequently challenged by the courts or even be overwritten by Congress. But such a congressional attempt would be problematic, if it turns out the same President who issued the executive order is necessary to sign the proposed legislation into law. This is why the independent role of the Judiciary is so important, since only it can determine if an executive order is constitutional.
Executive Orders are assigned a number and are published by the official Federal Registry of the United States.
The broadening use of executive orders have been widely criticized for resembling authoritarian decrees, especially when such decrees adversly impact existing labor protections, access to health and human services, interstate and international commerce, social security, immigration, energy, environmental protection, education and the making of war and peace.« Back to Glossary Index