Checks on Presidential Executive Orders

High School ・Political Science ・MLA ・3 Sources

Any self-governed country will have a president as its top official, and most policies are exercised from this role. Presidents play a vital role in ensuring that various aspects of a government are accomplished for different reasons, primarily stability and economic development. They have to have the strength and legitimacy as provided by their status in order for presidents to accomplish their goals. It can be said that the U.S. president is one of the most important individuals on the globe regardless of the powers they appear to possess. A glimpse at the world's nations. However, the U.S Constitution does not expressly provide for executive orders and their existence and enactment are implied from the president’s broad executive power. As such, as a means towards ensuring that presidents do not abuse this power, The US. Constitution’s provisions for the judiciary, cabinet, and Senate allow for checks on executive orders to ensure that presidents do not abuse the power vested in their office.

Keeping checks of the presidential executive orders is very important because such powers can be abused as history would have it with some of the former U.S. presidents such as Clinton. One way that the executive orders of the president are kept in line is through the judiciary system. (Gaziano) explains that the judiciary is an entity on its own which means that in as much as it is operating under the U.S. Constitution; it has the authority to overrule presidential executive orders that do not satisfy what the Constitution holds.

It is the obligation of the president to work with law and practice as stipulated by the U.S. Constitution and at times, the president’s opinion over some matters can harm or discriminate on private citizens of the country. In this situation, it can be said that the president is abusing his powers to gain what he believes is right and yet that is not the same case for the majority. A recent example of how the judiciary keeps checks on presidential executive powers is the President Trump’s ban on Muslims traveling to America. It has been all over the news and even some of his fellow Americans protested with two Federal judge’s ruling against it as it was unconstitutional and discriminative in nature. This is not the first incident but history has it that the executive orders as given by the U.S. president have to align with the U.S. Constitution and it is the obligation of the judiciary to ensure this is achieved.

There is also the aspect of separation of powers that gives the different branches of the government the responsibility of keeping tabs with the presidential executive orders. Chu and Garvey explain that the Framers saw it necessary to separate powers thus giving different branches of the government authority of specific issues. As such, the U.S. President has powers over specific elements and not all. Therefore, in as much as he can exercise his execution powers, other forms of the government have to ensure he does not overstep his boundaries. According to (Gaziano), “the separation of powers reinforces a President's right or duty to issue a decree, order, or proclamation to carry out a particular power that truly is committed to his discretion by the Constitution or by a lawful statute passed by Congress.” But still, the same constitution objects to the president exercising power over areas governed by another branch

Given the above, it is important to understand that the executive powers of the president are very broad and that he can exercise them under the various statutory obligations accorded to him. As such, Chu and Garvey explains that while the president has this capacity, the congress can limit some of his powers by giving conditional grants over a specific issue. Through this, the president still can write directives as he deems appropriate but in order to ensure he does not abuse his statutory power, at times, congress has to give conditional grants for a specific objective to be met.

Another interesting way to which checks can be exercised over the presidential executive powers is by analyzing the history of signing statements. Kelly and Marshall explain that this has now become an important way through which presidential powers can be protected. Given that in order for legislation to be implemented, the entire process involves different stages all which take into account different branches of the government, at times the final decision can hinder the powers of the president. Basically, this means that the influence that congress has over a particular issue may not align with that of the president thus a difference in desired outcomes.

As a result of the above, the congress keeps in check the powers the president have over a given policy but he too, through the signing of statements can continue to protect his interests for the greater good of the majority. Not every law will attract a signing statement but those that do are often in reference to a divided government with the president needing to influence the policy (Kelly and Marshall). Therefore, it can be said that when congress does not allow for the president to justify his call for a particular action, he has the authority to justify the statement through Article II of the Constitution through signing statements (Kelly and Marshall).

From the above, there is the understanding that at times, congress appears not to be in line with some of the policies as advocated for by the president. And to ensure he does not abuse his executive powers, they may hinder the process but to give balance to both sides of the situation, the president can allow for their point of view and still enforce his through signing a statement that accompanies the policy. This, however, should be justified under the U.S. Constitution based on what powers every branch, including the executive can influence policies.

In conclusion, in addition to their jobs, various branches of the U.S. government have the authority to keep in check the position the president takes while looking to exercise his executive powers. The importance of this is to stop the president from potentially abusing his powers because they are too broad. Under the U.S. Constitution, executive powers have always existed as a means of giving the president specific privileges to make decisions without the need of consulting congress. With such powers, there have been historical incidences that it was felt as though the powers were abused and not well executed. As such, the above ways as mentioned detail some of the ways through which the U.S. presidents are kept in check thus ensuring they use their powers for legislative good.

Works Cited

Chu, Vivian, and Todd Garvey. Executive Orders: Issuance, Modification, and Revocation. Washington: Congressional Research Service, 2014

Gaziano, Todd. “The Use and Abuse of Executive Orders and Other Presidential Directives.” Tex. Rev. L. & Pol., 2001, pp. 269-303.

Kelley, Christopher, and Bryan Marshall. “The last word: Presidential power and the role of signing statements.” Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 38, no. 2, 2008, pp. 248-267.

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