Opinions on Debatable Issues #19
The current presidential power to grant unlimited executive orders puts the welfare of US citizens in danger. Executive orders are directives that manage the operations of the federal government. They are equivalent to federal laws with the only difference that Congress can strike them down. The privilege to issue as many executive orders as the president wishes breaks the power balance of the three branches, giving too much authority to the executive branch. “Beginning with the Korean War, presidents have frequently authorized the use of military force without congressional approval. Despite the Constitution “assigns Congress the power to declare war, and that the historical record makes clear the framers only intended that the president would have unilateral authority to use military force in response to a sudden attack when there was no time to gain congressional approval.” So executive orders issued by many presidents are not constitutional. In recent years, we have seen Trump signing a burst of orders to undo many of President Barack Obama’s policies in his first three weeks in office. He also did so to hinder a smooth transition of power to President Biden at the end of his presidency.
Increasingly, presidents have been using executive orders to carry out bills that are not approved by Congress. That undermines the “limited government” and “balancing of power between the three branches” principle of the Constitution. According to the Congressional Research Service, there is no direct “definition of executive orders, presidential memoranda, and proclamations in the U.S. Constitution…” That gives the president the power to make any law he wants, at least temporarily. That is a step towards dictatorship, which is the last thing that the Americans want. The threat posed by such unconstrained power on our beloved democracy can not be ignored.
Even though the technological developments of destructive weaponry made decisive actions necessary after the 911 attack and Cuban missile crisis, such occasions are rare. Therefore, limiting the executive orders to 16 still enables the president to make crucial statues during emergencies. We should save the power of law-making to legislators in alignment with the Constitution.
Also, the current hazardous situations of presidents overturning or undoing the former president’s policies are causing lots of instability and tensions within the Country. The division in the Congress is also exacerbated by the back-and-forth of conservative and liberal executive orders, disuniting the country. With a limited amount of executive orders, presidents will make decisions not for the sake of combating the opposing party but for the country’s best interest. They would also be cautious and exercise discretion to be reelected or get a good reputation and public support.
Some people, supporting the status quo, contends that Presidents need executive orders to get things done. However, our great founding father, Geroge Washington only issued 8 executive orders in his 8-year presidency, showing that executive orders are not the only way that president can do their job well. Some propose an alternative solution, which is putting a stricter approval procedure on the executive orders. That is impractical. If an approval procedure is placed before any executive orders can be issued, it betrays the purpose of executive orders, that is to make a prompt response to a sudden attack when there was no time to gain congressional approval. A procedure slows down the process, delaying any crucial actions when they are needed immediately. If the approval procedure is to be placed after the executive orders, it is unlikely for it to work. We have seen that despite that Congress can strike down an executive order after it was issued, presidents are still making executive orders for its short-term impacts. a stricter approval procedure cannot deter the presidents from abusing the executive orders. Limiting the number is the only answer.
Pardons exempt anyone from any crimes and punishments except impeachment. Unlimited pardons cause serious problems, as shown by former President, Donald Trump’s, abuse of this presidential power. Trump just pardoned his former white house strategist a couple of hours before he departed from the White House on Tuesday. Bannon was accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the scheme. According to the New York Times, the campaign, “raised more than $25 million from private donors by promising to build portions of the wall.” Bannon received more than $1 million out of it and paid others to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses, according to Federal District Court indictment.
Bloomberg reported that Trump also commuted an 835-year sentence for Sholam Weiss, who was involved in a fraud scheme that siphoned off about $450 million from an Orlando insurance company, leading to its collapse. Trump asserts that the pardon was granted for Sholam’s “Chronic health condition”. But, according to a White House announcement, trump lent the clemency because of the lobbying of Brett Tolman, and Sholam’s connection with former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, former U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman, and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz. Trump also pardoned Eliyahu “Eli” Weinstein who ran a $200 million Ponzi scheme involving a virtual portfolio of fake real estate investments and land deals according to N.J.com. Other criminals pardoned include Anthony Levandowski, who was sentenced to 18 months for stealing self-driving car secrets, Albert Pirro, the ex-husband of Jeanine Pirro, who is well known for her vehement defenses of Trump and attacks against his perceived enemies, and many others.
One trend is clear here. Wealthy People who are liars and corruptors and deserving of their sentences lobbied with millions of dollars to get themselves exonerated. The clemency was not driven by humanity or forgiveness, nor justice; it was driven by money and shady connections. Those criminals committed crimes that are notorious and horrible. Their money came illegally and is at the expense of the pain of countless American citizens. Yet, tons of them were exonerated because trump exercised the president’s power of granting unlimited pardons. That would not be so worrisome if Trump only could grant 10 pardons.
Some argue that limiting the number of pardons to 10 does not address corruption if the President intends to give his or her political allies a favor. However, it is not about whether there is any corruption crime escapes punishment. It is about the extent to which the pardons granted are feeding into corruption. 10 corrupted people being exonerated is better than 100.
Unfettered presidential power is unacceptable and a limit on the executive orders and pardons that a president can grant in a term effectively addresses this problem.
- https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/executive-orders-101-what-are-they-and-how-do-presidents-use-them/ https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/statistics/data/executive-orders
Check out the other Opinions on Debatable Issues:
– Funding the Defenders: Not Enough to Curb Prosecutorial Power
– Thanksgiving is WORTH Celebrating, Even in Light of Its Origin
– No-First-Use (NFU) of Nuclear Weapons is NECESSARY
– Governmental Regulations on Social Media: Necessary and Constitutional
– Expell the legislators who endorsed “Stop the Steal” Immidiately https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2021/01/16/expell-the-legislators-who-endorsed-stop-the-steal-immidiately/
– Unions help workers obtaining better terms of employment, but what are their downsides?https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2021/01/30/unions-help-workers-obtaining-better-terms-of-employment-but-what-are-their-downsides/