The Dictatorship of Executive Orders

Guest Submission by Ervin Sims

Since Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon people have spoken about “The Imperial Presidency”.  The concept revolves around the fear of the growing power of the President and the Executive Branch of Government.  The fact that the power of the President is growing is clear to any discerning observer of the political scene.  In some ways this is a natural result in the growth in the government due to the growth of the nation itself.  However there have been times when Presidents have reached out and taken power for themselves and the other branches of government have been unwilling to push back against the power grabs.  Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter are all members of the club.  So are all who have followed them. 

One tool that Presidents use to weld the Imperial Power they have taken for themselves is the “Executive Order”.  The authority that Presidents have to use executive orders are implicit in the Constitution and also given to the President by acts of Congress.  Sometimes Presidents have overstepped themselves.  The attempt of Harry Truman to take control of the nation’s steel mills is one example.  President’s at times use executive orders to write law, and not just to facilitate laws that have been made by Congress.

President Obama has been an enthusiastic user of Executive Orders.  The President has done his best to do end runs around the Legislative Branch of government.  The appointment of “Czars” to replace Cabinet Department heads who are ratified by the Senate is the clearest evidence of this.  The most recent example is President Obama’s “Executive Order” to in essence legalize young illegal aliens.  Since Congress has not legislated immigration policies that he likes he is now issuing an Executive Order to install a policy that he does like.  It is a blatantly obvious political ploy, but more importantly is again usurping power that belongs to the legislative branch of government.

The founding fathers purposefully made the Legislative Branch the most powerful of the three branches of government.  The reason for this is that the Legislative Branch as it was created is more responsive to the people.  This is particularly true of the House of Representatives where all spending bills are supposed to originate.  The President is supposed to support and enforce the laws that Congress makes, he has no authority to create the laws.  Part of the problem is because the Congress has willingly surrendered this power.

Unfortunately, as the President acquires more power, the threat of dictatorship becomes greater.  This must be vigorously opposed.  The President is the most powerful “man” in government; the Executive Branch can never become the most powerful Branch of government if the people are to maintain their freedom.  Obama’s usurpation of power must be actively opposed at every incident of his power grabbing activities.  If we don’t, future generations will curse us.   

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