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TEMA: Are US Executive Orders Constitutional?

Are US Executive Orders Constitutional? 01 Ago 2015 20:54 #8875

Regarding this issue of Executive Orders in the United States, it is important to know that there are provisions in the US Constitution granting Executive Privilege to the President.

Executive privilege is an implied presidential power that is recognized by the courts. There are generally four areas that an executive branch claim of privilege is based: 1) presidential communications privilege; 2) deliberative process privilege; 3) national security, foreign relations or military affairs, and 4) an ongoing law enforcement investigation.

Some Presidents have not used this power in the past but some others have claimed executive privilege to try to conceal wrongdoing or politically embarrassing information. In fact, no President ever used the phrase “executive privilege” until the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration. The phrase was not a part of the common language. Nonetheless, all presidents going back to George Washington have exercised some form of what is called today "executive privilege".

On the other hand, there is no provision in the US Constitution for "executive orders", at least not the way in which they are being used today. The President is vested with the "Executive power", which simply means he directs the actions of government as directed by law. He is charged with enforcing the laws, he has no power to modify them. He can not issue executive orders describing how to enforce the laws, he can simply enforce them as written.

It is important to stress that the President has sworn an oath to protect all legislation, passed by Congress, in accordance with the Constitution. He can not enforce only part of those laws. He cannot enforce law according to a specific or personal interpretation. If there is a need for clarification, only Congress can do so, and the President has an obligation to ask for direction if that is necessary. The Exective power vested in the President allow him under Article II, Section 3, Clause 2, to make suggestions to the Congress on legislation. It also allows him to veto legislation that is not enforced by a 2/3 majority in Congress, but he cannot veto selectively or issue line-item vetoes.

A large majority of Executive orders were issued within Constitutional parameters until the Administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was prompted to take emergency measures, first, because of the great depresion and, second, prompted by the II World War. Since then, most US Presidents have exceeded their Constitutional powers, in particular when forcefully confronting the Legislative power on issues they do not agree.

The division of power is properly applied when the President acts as an "administrator" of the laws passed by Congress. It is not legitimate when the President acts by decree without congressional approval.
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Are US Executive Orders Constitutional? 22 Abr 2015 18:32 #8739

El Presidencialismo es uno de los grandes defectos que ha socavado la democracia en América Latina, facilitando el populismo presidencial y el establecimiento gradual de dictaduras.

En los siglos XIX y XX las dictaduras latinoamericanas se establecían por golpes de Estado o cuartelazos castrenses, y solían caer derribadas por otros golpes de Estado o por cualquier otro método violento. No eran dictaduras totalitarias y muchas de las fuerzas vivas de la nación seguían teniendo fuerza e influencia para lograr una oposición organizada y eficaz. Pero muy pocas veces se lograba una auténtica democracia porque el Presidencialismo distorsionaba gravemente el equilibrio de poderes y solía desembocar en un franco autoritarismo.

Estados Unidos no es inmune a un proceso semejante si un Presidente logra movilizar a un sector suficientemente amplio del pueblo para poner de su parte a una "opinión pública" manipulada por los medios de comunicación hasta el punto de neutralizar las funciones del Congreso, que es el verdadero rector del país si el gobierno se ajusta a los mandatos constitucionales.

Las órdenes ejecutivas en Estados Unidos no tienen el propósito de permitirle al Presidente gobernar a espaldas del Congreso sino darle la opción de tomar decisiones de urgencia o de impulsar iniciativas en las que el Congreso se enfrente a un impasse y hasta que lo resuelva. En un caso tan grave como podría ser un enfrentamiento militar, el Presidente, como comandante en jefe de las fuerzas armadas, puede ordenar operaciones militares por un máximo de 30 días o hasta tanto el Congreso lo desautorice. Pero no puede llevar al país a una guerra sin el apoyo o la anuencia del Congreso.

Lo mismo es con otras medidas de Gobierno. El Presidente "administra" las decisiones del Congreso. Cuando no está de acuerdo con la mayoría del Congreso sólo tiene la facultad de convencer a una parte de esa mayoría con razonamientos suficientes para que su minoría se convierta en una nueva mayoría como resultado de la negociación y la transacción.

Lo peor que puede suceder es que el Presidente condene a la mayoría que se le oponga como si fuera "el enemigo" y esté dispuesto a paralizar el país con el veto o con órdenes ejecutivas para demostrar que "el enemigo" opositor le está impidiendo sus funciones de gobierno. Es lastimoso que muchos no vean en esta actitud un reflejo del síndrome de autoritarismo que ha ahogado la democracia en gran parte de América Latina.
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Are US Executive Orders Constitutional? 26 Nov 2014 16:52 #8517

Solucionar el problema de un plumazo es propio de países del tercer mundo. No es extraño que los aplausos fáciles vengan de más allá del rio Bravo, y de los medios de comunicación 'latinos' de Estados Unidos: Univisión y sus cuates, el Diario las Américas y muchos otros con mentalidad de guayabito.

Antes de proseguir, como cristiano apoyo cualquier medida que saque a un ser humano de su iniquidad. Claro está, la compasión cristiana también puede y debe hacerse respetando la legalidad de la primera potencia del mundo.

La legalidad consiste en reconocer la falta; pagar la fianza que corresponda; hablar el idioma nacional; respetar los símbolos patrios y no jurar defender a un "príncipe o gobierno extranjero”

Decía Huntington, el profesor emérito de Harvard, que el país se dividirá en dos naciones a mediados de este siglo. Se equivocó. Este es un paso de gigante en la latinización y la subversión del orden "wasp", tomando las tomateras y el analfabetismo como punto de partida.

En realidad no hay caridad cristiana en un presidente que no lo es.

El futuro: votos fáciles para el partido demócrata (social) y el efecto “imán” atractivo en fronteras porosas, todo matizado por el aplauso de los populistas.

Además, una ganancia secundaria para nuestros obispos, ellos tan compasivos, que esperan llenar los bancos vacios de sus iglesias con decenas de nuevos Guadalupanos.
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Are US Executive Orders Constitutional? 22 Nov 2014 17:11 #8506

Among the main reasons why Democracy has survived in the United States for nearly 2 ½ centuries without any major constitutional reform but limited to a few amendments, are the limitations the Executive Power must respect in acting more as an "administration" than a "government". That is why we refer to the US presidential power as "the Administration". The real "government" rests in Congress, i.e. the people's representatives.

In fact, it is the US House of Representatives the institution with Constitutional power to act in the name of US citizens. The Senate acts in the name of the States. That is so because the United States is organized as a Federation of States and the Senate makes all of them equal within the Federal government.

Therefore, it is pertinent to question whether Executive Orders are Constitutional.

The President of the United States, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, issues Executive Orders (EOs) and they are legally binding to Federal Administrative Agencies within certain Constitutional limitations. They are limited to direct federal agencies and officials in their execution of congressionally established laws or policies. That is, how they should apply and enforce those laws. In other words, they are acting as "the Administration".

Congress very seldom challenge EOs that deal with foreign policy, national defense, or the implementation and negotiation of treaties, as these are powers granted largely to the President by the Constitution. However, in many instances EOs have been used to guide agencies in directions contrary to congressional intent.

The present Speaker of the House, Bohener, clearly underlined in a July opinion piece in USA Today that “Congress makes the laws; the president executes them. That is the system the Founders gave us. This is not about executive orders. Every president issues executive orders. Most of them, though, do so within the law”. And there lies the problem - EOs should be issued within the spirit and the letter of the Supreme law of the nation (the Constitution).

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution is the President's source of authority to issue Executive Orders as the head of the "executive Power." He should execute and administer the laws of the land and create policy to do so efficiently. That is what Section 3 of Article II means by further directing the President to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." To implement or execute the laws of the land, Presidents give direction and guidance to Executive Branch agencies and departments, often in the form of EOs.

Executive Orders are controversial when the President makes use of this power to make major decisions, even law, without the consent of Congress. This, of course, runs against the general logic of the Constitution – that no one should have power to act unilaterally. Nevertheless, Congress often gives the President considerable leeway in implementing and administering federal law and programs. In practice, a 2/3 majority if often required to override an Executive Order.

However, the US Constitution is clear in Article I, Section 8 about the powers of Congress and there is no exception limiting the Legislative Power in favor of the Executive Power in the process of law making. In general, Congress is the branch of government in charge of issuing the laws of the country, of controlling the budget and the national debt, and of declaring war, among other Constitutional rules.

Therefore, Congress has a right to challenge EOs issued contrary to Congressional intent. In addition to congressional recourse, Executive Orders can be challenged in court, usually on the grounds that the Order deviates from "congressional intent" or exceeds the President's constitutional powers.

The President has thus the obligation to work with Congress to implement national policies. It is not allowed by the Constitution to act on his own, no matter how rightful he believes his actions are. The only exceptions are emergencies and/or national defense in case of an act of war. But these are only emergency powers and do not replace legislative action.

The President may appeal to the people in a confrontation with Congress asking them to exert pressure on their representatives or asking them to vote in favor of candidates more in tandem with his policy orientations when mid-term elections allow constituents to elect a new congressional majority.

President Obama had a solid majority in the House and Senate during the first two years of his mandate. That was his chance to pass a reform under his guidelines and approved through Congressional debate. No matter how much many Americans like Obama's initiatives, it is a fact that voters chose to have a clear Republican majority in both houses of Congress for the last two years of his Administration. Instead of Executive Orders of doubtful Constitutional legality, he should take historical lessons from Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton in their successful deals with adversarial Congress majorities to reach workable solutions.

That is the real seal of a good government.
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