The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

79° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Executive orders are vital to our nation

    Executive orders are an integral part of our nation’s functionality. The president is granted “executive power” according to Article II, Section I of the United States Constitution. He or she thus has the ability to make legally binding decisions as to what policies are formed by U.S. federal agencies without the consent of Congress.

    Executive orders were described by Paul Begala, an adviser under former President Bill Clinton, as the “stroke of the pen, law of the land” in an interview with the New York Times in 1998.

    This statement refers to the simplistic nature associated with executive orders. Because of this swift and definitive decision-making, the power attached to executive orders is often questioned and deemed controversial. It could be considered contrary to the ideals set by the Constitution due to its totalitarian resemblance.

    Yet to condemn executive orders would be to forsake vital decisions made by every president this country has been led by. Some of the most significant policy changes in our country were carried out through the means of executive order, including the Emancipation Proclamation, the integration of the armed forces, the desegregation of schools and the barring of racial discrimination in federal housing, hiring and contracting.

    Executive orders are far from rare. Ronald Reagan had a total of 381 executive orders, Bill Clinton signed 364, George W. Bush issued 291 and Barack Obama has declared 130.

    The checks and balances in place may be designed to prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful, but they also prevent anything from getting done. Even if a bill does happen to survive the gauntlet of party politics, it comes out the other end battered and bruised in an untimely manner. Executive orders are a way of bypassing these problems.

    Not all executive orders are righteous and supported, but it’s comforting to know that should the need arise, something can be done quickly and effectively. Executive orders are only temporary and can be reversed by successive presidents. Whether for better or for worse, our country would not be the same if executive orders did not exist.

    — Max Efrein is a junior studying journalism and history. He can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

    More to Discover
    Activate Search