What are the limits of a Presidential Executive Order?

What are the limits of a Presidential Executive Order?

This is a discussion on What are the limits of a Presidential Executive Order? within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Obama to use executive orders for immediate impact - Yahoo! News A story I ran across got me wondering what, if any, limits there are ...

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Thread: What are the limits of a Presidential Executive Order?

  1. #1
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    What are the limits of a Presidential Executive Order?

    Obama to use executive orders for immediate impact - Yahoo! News

    A story I ran across got me wondering what, if any, limits there are to the powers of "Executive Orders." Mainly, can a president decide to order an AWB on his own?
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    Member Array jhfox462's Avatar
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    Good question. I was wondering the same myself and dont have an answer.
    Benjamin Franklin once said, "he that would supplant a little liberty for a little safety deserves neither".

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    VIP Member Array ExactlyMyPoint's Avatar
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    This has some info.

    Executive order (United States) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This was particularly interesting:

    Until the 1950s, there were no rules or guidelines outlining what the president could or could not do through an executive order. However, the Supreme Court ruled in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 US 579 (1952) that Executive Order 10340 from President Harry S. Truman placing all steel mills in the country under federal control was invalid because it attempted to make law, rather than clarify or act to further a law put forth by the Congress or the Constitution. Presidents since this decision have generally been careful to cite which specific laws they are acting under when issuing new executive orders.
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    Distinguished Member Array Ghettokracker71's Avatar
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    eek, thats some scary stuff

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Originally designed under emergency powers acts, but executive orders actually have no constitutional support. Yes...scary.

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    Imports of Gun parts and specific types of weapons materials and even the release of Military return guns have been the subject of outright bans by Executive orders in the past. The entire lot of returned Garands and M1 carbines is subject to destruction on a presidential whim. You can almost expect the CMP to be completely empty here soon. They will all be sent to the crusher by executive order. Ammo, Magazines and the interpretation of what can be imported for "sporting purposes" is also subject to enforcement under a presidential order. You can expect AK's, FAL's and such to all be, essentially, banned by this method.

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Agreed with others, I have a terrible feeling that an EO will be employed by Obama & Biden to do AWB II.

    To do so would right out the blocks make him and them_HUGELY_ unpopular amongst a significant portion of the voting citizenship. But at the same time he would be heralded as a 'maverick' or rather "Renegade" (per his Secret Service designation) and a MAJORITY of the voting public would support him.
    As well attacking ammunition would effectively make all of our pr-Inuguration day purchases to be largely null, void, and a waste of coin. You can't shoot what you can't feed. :(

    Already in various states such restrictions are in play notably NJ (ammunition) and MA (firearms including ban of AK and FALs)...and MA has an 'A' rating by the Brady Campaign people.

    - Janq
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    Executive orders define expected conduct by the federal bureaucracy. You cannot be convicted of a crime for violating one...it is not a law.

    However, if the President were to issue an Order requiring federal agents to perform an illegal action, they would be covered under the immunity of the President and immune to prosecution for that action. This is the scary part. The courts have determined that in this instance the only recourse is impeachment (other than suing to stop the action itself).

    The bottom line, though, is that executive orders ARE NOT LAW.
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    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    Here is an example of how EO's can affect you under an emergency situation:

    Executive Orders associated with FEMA that would suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These Executive Orders have been on record for nearly 30 years and could be enacted by the stroke of a Presidential pen:...

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990
    allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995
    allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997
    allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998
    allows the government to seize all means of transportation, including personal cars, trucks or vehicles of any kind and total control over all highways, seaports, and waterways.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10999
    allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000
    allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001
    allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002
    designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003
    allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004
    allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005
    allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051
    specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310
    grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049
    assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921
    allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has broad powers in every aspect of the nation. General Frank Salzedo, chief of FEMA's Civil Security Division stated in a 1983 conference that he saw FEMA's role as a "new frontier in the protection of individual and governmental leaders from assassination, and of civil and military installations from sabotage and/or attack, as well as prevention of dissident groups from gaining access to U.S. opinion, or a global audience in times of crisis." FEMA's powers were consolidated by President Carter to incorporate the previous named orders then were reconsolidated once more under Bill Clinton.

    National Security Act of 1947
    allows for the strategic relocation of industries, services, government and other essential economic activities, and to rationalize the requirements for manpower, resources and production facilities.

    1950 Defense Production Act
    gives the President sweeping powers over all aspects of the economy.

    Act of August 29, 1916
    authorizes the Secretary of the Army, in time of war, to take possession of any transportation system for transporting troops, material, or any other purpose related to the emergency.

    International Emergency Economic Powers Act enables the President to seize the property of a foreign country or national. These powers were transferred to FEMA in a sweeping consolidation in 1979.

    ExSoldier's note: Now, understand that many of the above have been revoked only to be replaced by order's that mirror the original intent but are more gently worded and clouded with legalese. Many of them have been replaced many times with (I believe deception is the main objective) others that are layered one upon another. Click a link and it takes you elsewhere. It's maddening, but I think that's the idea. Regardless, the EO has the force of law if unchallenged by the US Congress within 90 days. Yes you can be arrested if you violate an EO because it IS law. I speak as a veteran teacher of AP American Government with nearly 20 years of classroom experience and an award of Social Studies Teacher of the Year for my inner city high school.
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    BAC
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    Good discussion here. Reread what GWRedDragon posted. The sky is not falling, and an EO cannot create an AWB.


    -B

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    All very interesting...
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    Here is something else to consider, beyond the EO situation. A treaty made by the President with a foreign entity, like say the UN that is ratified by the US Senate cuts across the entire document of the Bill of Rights. So say the UN asks the USA to sign a treaty that surrenders all the personally owned firearms to be destroyed, that treaty is full and enforceable LAW if it's ratified by the Senate (checks and balances). This is a mechanism within the document itself so it's not a contradiction and it is legal. In exactly the same way that the Constitution provides a way for the document to be changed or completely junked for a "do over." I refer to the various methods to change incrementally (Amendments, etc) or pervasively such as in the call for another Constitutional Convention.
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    BAC
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExSoldier View Post
    Here is something else to consider, beyond the EO situation. A treaty made by the President with a foreign entity, like say the UN that is ratified by the US Senate cuts across the entire document of the Bill of Rights. So say the UN asks the USA to sign a treaty that surrenders all the personally owned firearms to be destroyed, that treaty is full and enforceable LAW if it's ratified by the Senate (checks and balances). This is a mechanism within the document itself so it's not a contradiction and it is legal. In exactly the same way that the Constitution provides a way for the document to be changed or completely junked for a "do over." I refer to the various methods to change incrementally (Amendments, etc) or pervasively such as in the call for another Constitutional Convention.
    No, that's not legal at all. The Second Amendment is pretty clear about that. A treaty with a foreign entity doesn't circumvent the requirements of our government to abide by the Constitution.


    -B

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    I think that somebody overlooked one small issue in this discussion of the Executive Order: THE STATE OF EMERGENCY. Under "normal" circumstances, the EO tends to be regulatory in nature and it's not a "law" per se. But the EO triggered by a national catastrophe is a different animal. Those that I list above were man of them designed by Oliver North and aimed at controlling a shattered infrastructure following a nuclear attack by the USSR. Later they were turned "inward" to handle domestic emergencies, including terrorism.

    What's important is that #1 NOBODY has ever officially described exactly what constitutes a "national emergency" and #2 this country has been operating under an extended national emergency reauthorized by each President on an annual basis since 1960! If the emergency EO's are triggered by say a nuclear 911, all bets are off for at least 6 months. That's the minimum length of time the US Constitution can be suspended in all facets without congressional or judicial review.

    Quote Originally Posted by BAC View Post
    No, that's not legal at all. The Second Amendment is pretty clear about that. A treaty with a foreign entity doesn't circumvent the requirements of our government to abide by the Constitution.


    -B
    Sorry, you're incorrect. The Treaty Making Powers of the President are inviolate within the articles. The check & balance requirement is met.

    Another scary document: Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps: Halliburton subsidiary KBR has just received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to provide temporary detention and processing capabilities* PETER DALE SCOTT / Com
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