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The Right Stuff: Presidential executive orders are not law

By Roger Oberbeck March 28, 2022 | Posted in Local Opinion Columnists


Roger Oberbeck: The Right Stuff There is no explicit definition in the U.S. Constitution of executive orders, proclamations and presidential memoranda. Thus, there is no provision authorizing their issuance.

Article I of the U. S. Constitution says, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress . . . ,” and Article II says, “The executive power shall be vested in a president . . . .” To most of us it is clear that the legislative branch should do all legislating and the executive branch should do enforcement of laws. However, there is an unsupported opposing school of thought that believes presidential executive orders and memoranda have the power of law.

In a Supreme Court majority opinion (Youngstown v. Sawyer, 342 US 579, Jun 1952), Justice Hugo Black stated, “The president’s power to see that laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker . . . executive orders stem either from an act of Congress or from the Constitution itself.” [...read more]

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