Executive order

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In the name of the
Icon law.svg
To punish
and protect

An executive order is any legal decree by the President of the United States that is effectively law[note 1], but can be overwritten by either Congress[note 2], the Supreme Court, or any succeeding presidential administration. Presidents however are limited as to what they can decree, as it must be in accordance with federal law, and is therefore subject to judicial review.[1]


The President's power to create and enforce executive orders are based off of Article II of the United States Constitution, which gives the POTUS wide authority to determine how laws are enforced and to what degree they are enforced.[note 3] They also derive from Acts of Congress that delegate to the President some degree of lawmaking power, called "Acts of Delegation".[2] It should be stressed, as it was above, that this doesn't give the President carte blanche power to rule by decree, and the executive orders of the President are limited in scope and are subject to judicial review.[3]


  1. Technically executive orders lay down how to enforce a law
  2. By making a new law that supplants the order in question
  3. This is based off of a generous interpretation of Article II, since Article II of the Constitution doesn't explicitly allow for executive orders, but neither does it deny them, although it does implicitly allow for executive orders, given that it enables the executive branch leeway in how to enforce the law.


  1. Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR, FAAN; Margarete L. Zalon, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN; Ruth Ludwick, PhD, RN-BC, CNS, FAAN (13 November 2014). Nurses Making Policy: From Bedside to Boardroom. Springer Publishing Company. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-8261-9892-1.
  2. John Contrubis, Executive Orders and Proclamations, CRS Report for Congress #95-722A, March 9, 1999, Pp. 1-2
  3. Chester James Antieau; William J. Rich (1997). Modern Constitutional Law: The states and the federal government. West Group. p. 528. ISBN 978-0-7620-0194-1.