Presidency Key TermsHow the president can circumvent Congress
Executive Orders an order or directive issued by the head ofthe executive branch at some level ofgovernment. U.S. Presidents have issued executiveorders since 1789, usually to help officersand agencies of the executive branchmanage the operations within the federalgovernment itself. there is no constitutional provision orstatute that explicitly allows them, thoughthere is a vague grant of "executive power"given in Article II, Section 1of theConstitution, and furthered by the
Executive Orders Until the 1950s, there were no rulesor guidelines on how to use them The Supreme Court ruled inYoungstown Sheet & Tube Co. v.Sawyer (1952) that EO 10340 fromTruman placing all steel mills in thecountry under federal control wasinvalid because it attempted tomake law, rather than clarify or actto further a law put forth by theCongress or the Constitution. Presidents since this decision havegenerally been careful to cite whichspecific laws they are acting underwhen issuing new executive orders.
Executive Orders One extreme example of anexecutive order is EO 9066,where F.D. Rooseveltdelegated military authority toremove any or all people(used to target specificallyJapanese Americans andGerman Americans) in amilitary zone. The authority delegated toGeneral John L. DeWittpaved the way for allJapanese-Americans on theWest Coast to be sent to
Signing Statements A signing statement is a written pronouncement issuedby the President of the United States upon the signingof a bill into law. There was controversy over the G.W. Bush’s use ofsigning statements, which critics charged was unusuallyextensive and modified the meaning of statutes. In July 2006, the American Bar Association stated thatthe use of signing statements to modify the meaning ofduly enacted laws serves to "undermine the rule of lawand our constitutional system of separation of powers". Not mentioned in the constitution that he can altermeaning of law. When a bill is presented to thePresident, the constitution provides 3 choices: donothing, sign the bill, or (if he disapproves of the bill)veto it in its entirety and return it to the House in which itoriginated, along with his written objections to it.
Signing Statements Until the 1980s, signing statements weregenerally triumphal, rhetorical, or politicalproclamations and went mostlyunannounced. Until Reagan, only 75 statements had beenissued; Reagan and his successors GeorgeH. W. Bush and Bill Clinton produced 247signing statements among the three of them.By the end of 2004, George W. Bush hadissued 108 signing statements containing 505constitutional challenges. As of January 30,2008, he had signed 157 signing statementschallenging over 1,100 provisions of federallaw. Some opponents have said that he in effect
Example The signing statement associated with theDetainee Treatment Act of 2005, prohibitingcruel, inhuman and degrading treatment ofdetainees in U.S. custody attractedcontroversy:"The executive branch shall construe... theAct, relating to detainees, in a mannerconsistent with the constitutional authority ofthe President to supervise the unitaryexecutive branch and as Commander inChief and consistent with the constitutionallimitations on the judicial power...."
Executive Agreements An agreement made between the executive branch ofthe U.S. government and a foreign government withoutratification by the Senate. Less formal than a treaty and is not subject to theconstitutional requirement for ratification by two-thirds ofthe U.S. Senate. The Constitution does not specifically give a presidentthe power to conclude executive agreements. However, he may be authorized to do so by Congress,or he may do so on the basis of the power granted himto conduct foreign relations. Despite questions about the constitutionality ofexecutive agreements, in 1937 the Supreme Courtruled that they had the same force as treaties. Becauseexecutive agreements are made on the authority of theincumbent president, they do not necessarily bind hissuccessors.
Examples For example, after the outbreak of World War IIbut before American entry into the conflict,President Franklin D. Roosevelt negotiated anexecutive agreement that gave the UnitedKingdom 50 overage destroyers in exchange for99-year leases on certain British naval bases inthe Atlantic. The use of executive agreements increasedsignificantly after 1939. Prior to 1940 the U.S.Senate had ratified 800 treaties and presidentshad made 1,200 executive agreements; from1940 to 1989, during World War II and the ColdWar, presidents signed nearly 800 treaties butnegotiated more than 13,000 executiveagreements. Clinton authorised the Comprehensive Test Banagreement with other states in 1999, eventhough the treaty had failed to ratified in the