The Executive Orders

Presidents have used executive orders given to administrative departments over years of political experience to effect legislative changes beyond Congress. These cases were most prevalent in a transition in the presidential government, especially where the elected president belonged to a different political party than that of the outgoing president. Executive orders are approved by the Constitution and supported by the full force of law, much as legislation enacted by the formal legislative process (Mayer, 1999). I will analyze in this paper whether or not this jurisdiction contradicts the principles of reasonableness and justice, and whether it presents a risk to the division of powers. Executive orders violate the notions of reasonableness and fairness because they are not legally binding on anyone outside the Congress. In most cases, presidents have issued executive orders in such situations of controversy. For this reason, the powers can easily go against the notion of reasonableness and fairness since a controversy contains two opposing sides. According to Mayer (1999), an executive order may seem to be siding with one of the parties, hence violating the notions of reasonableness and fairness. In the absence of challenge of executive powers from the Supreme Court or the Congress, it is possible that the president is likely to go beyond his bounds. In such circumstances, democracy is highly threatened hence this power violates the notions of reasonableness and fairness (Shane, 2016).

Moreover, executive orders pose a threat to the separation of powers. The separation of powers is the governing principle of the government of the United States. According to Crenson and Ginsberg (2008), executive powers will affect the other two branches of government; the Judiciary and the Congress. The roles of these other two branches will be threatened by the president’s executive powers. The executive (president) needs Congressional approval to authorize action in an area in which the Congress has constitutional authority. If the president goes beyond this approval, then it means the Congress, and the separation of powers altogether, will be threatened. Furthermore, the Congress does not play any role in executive orders, and that means it cannot overturn them. This passive nature of the Congress in such a scenario is a serious threat to the separation of powers. As such, presidential powers, specifically executive orders, blatantly attack the separation of powers, posing a threat to the separation of powers (Shane, 2016).


Crenson, M. A., & Ginsberg, B. (2008). Presidential power: Unchecked and unbalanced. New

York: W.W. Norton.

Mayer, K. (1999). Executive Orders and Presidential Power. The Journal of Politics, 61(2), 445

-466. Retrieved from

Shane, P. M. (2016). Madison’s Nightmare: How Executive Power Threatens American

Democracy. London: University of Chicago Press.

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