Will Barack Obama Undo Executive Orders?


Posted Nov 14, 2008      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Will Barack Obama Undo Executive Orders?


Soon after taking office, President-Elect Barack Obama is expected to reverse several executive orders authorized by President George Bush. Doing so would chart a new course for this country and signal a first step in fulfilling Obama’s campaign message of change.

Executive orders have allowed presidents to use their executive authority to direct and order federal agencies to implement their congressionally established policies. These orders are legally binding but do not require the legislative scrutiny outlined in Article I of the Constitution. Accordingly, they allow presidents to make legislative judgments with little public oversight or opportunity for redress.

For many presidents, issuing executive orders is a way to make an immediate impact after taking office. For example, in his first year of the presidency, George Bush issued executive orders that created an office for faith-based initiatives, defined the airspace above Afghanistan as a war zone, and reinstated a global gag rule which prohibits NGO recipients of U.S. federal funds from performing or promoting abortion services in other countries. Later in his tenure, President Bush imposed limits on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and excluded individuals captured in the war on terror from key portions of the Geneva Convention. Already, the Obama transition team has identified these and other executive orders authorized by President Bush as ones to reverse after the new leadership takes office.

As the Obama administration withdraws Bush-era executive orders and begins to implement its own directives, it will undoubtedly be tempting to pass similarly broad-ranging orders. Just as important as the ideological leaning of the orders is the fact that their overuse could pull the Obama administration into the same sort of unfettered rule-making that has plagued other administrations. While the natural tendency of the presidency is toward such policies, it seems as though President-Elect Obama will rescind many of the unconstitutional executive orders that are currently in place.

The key test for the new administration will be to balance presidential authority through the use of executive orders with a process of review. President-Elect Obama must rescind executive orders such as the ban on stem cell research and must take action to close Guantanamo Bay, all while ensuring that a review structure is in place to counteract unchecked executive edits.

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Undoing Bush’s executive orders, Mercury News Editorial http://www.mercurynews.com/columns/ci_10950754
Obama May Reverse Some of Bush’s Executive Orders http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/11/obama.executive.orders/?iref=hpmostpop
With new exec orders, Obama plans U-turns on Bush policies http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/11/obama-executive.html
ACLU wants Obama to Restore US Human Rights http://www.asiantribune.com/?q=node/14201
Democratic Pressure on Obama to Restore the Rule of Law http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/opinion/14fri4.html?ref=opinion
Four steps to restoring democracy http://www.opednews.com/articles/Four-Steps-to-Restoring-De-by-olenska-081111-711.html
Will Congress cede its powers to the Obama administration? http://b.casalemedia.com/V2/74359/149720/index.html?www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/11/11/lieberman/
Obama and the rogue regime, Ralph Nader http://www.counterpunch.org/nader11132008.html
A long train of abuses, Alexander Cockburn http://www.amconmag.com/article/2008/nov/17/00010/