Executive Orders have two main functions: to modify how an executive branch department or agency does its job (rule change) or to modify existing law, if such authority has been granted to the President by Congress. Executive orders are not mentioned by the Constitution, but they have been around a long, long time. George Washington issued several Presidential Proclamations, which are similar to EO’s (Proclamations are still issued today). EO’s and Proclamations are not law, but they have the effect of statutes. A typical modern Proclamation might declare a day to be in someone’s honor. Historically, they have had broader effect, such as the Emancipation Proclamation. A typical EO might instruct the government to do no business with a country we are at war with. Executive orders are subject to judicial review, and can be declared unconstitutional. Today, EO’s and Proclamations are sequentially numbered. The average president issues 58 EO’s a year. As of March 13, 1936, all EO’s must be published in the Federal Register. The first to have been so published was #7316, by President Roosevelt.
Thanks to Richard Barr for the idea.
The President is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Executive Branch of Government and has the authority to implement policies and procedures that are neccesary for the administration of the duties and responsibilities that have been assigned to him by the Constitution. Policies and procedures passed by Congress are called laws and effect all of the people. An Executive Order is a policy or procedure issued by the President that is a regulation that applies only to employess of the Executive Branch of government.
Any Executive Order that has any effect on individuals that are not government employees in a violation of Article I Section I. Whenever the President issues and Executive Order that extends to all of the people. Congress has a responsibility to the people to veto any Executive Order that has any effect on non governmental employees.
When a President issues an unconstitutional Executive Order and Congress allows the order to stand they are violating their oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.