Executive Orders, Appointments - The Missourian: Columns

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Executive Orders, Appointments

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Posted: Saturday, December 8, 2012 5:00 pm

Among the many emails received through the editor’s computer are a number from which the original source is difficult to determine. Perhaps it’s possible to learn the source, but we don’t have the time and patience to tackle that task. We delete them.

It is obvious that some are pure fabrication and designed to discredit an individual, government leader, group, political party, organization or a business. On those the delete key is hit quickly. We learned long ago that the Internet is not always a reliable source of information. Because anybody can put anything on the Internet, unless the source of information can be verified, don’t pass it on and particularly don’t publish it. That’s our rule.

There was a time not long ago when we would hear people say, “It was on the Internet,” therefore, it’s factual. Maturity has arrived to a point, and we don’t hear that comment much anymore. People have learned the Internet is not always a reliable source. It can be a great source. It also can be the messenger of lies.

An email we received some weeks ago said that President Barack Obama had issued more than 900 executive orders since he assumed office. He reportedly did this to make an end run around Congress and the courts. Yes, he has done that. Other presidents have done it.

We asked Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer about this report. He had his staff check into it. A staff member checked the federal archives and the federal register on executive orders. The search revealed that President Obama, since he took office in 2009, has issued 140 executive orders, 39 in 2012 to date. In President George W. Bush’s first four years, he issued 171, with 54 coming in 2001 when the 9/11 attack occurred. In eight years, President Bush the second issued 291 executive orders.

The sad thing is that some people will believe the more than 900 number about President Obama.

Like other presidents, Obama has made executive appointments without Senate approval, and an appeals court listened to arguments the other day in a lawsuit that alleges the appointments are unconstitutional. The president has authority to make appointments when the Senate is in recess. The suit challenges whether the Senate was in recess when appointments were made to the National Labor Relations Board last January.

The suit was filed by a soda bottler and distributor against the NLRB and contends a decision made by the board in a labor dispute was moot because the appointments of three board members were unconstitutional because they were not made when the Senate was in recess. Republican lawmakers and the company claim the Senate was in session and minutes of those sessions prove it.

Disputes between the executive and legislative branches have been common in the nation’s history. When a president has recognized that an appointment, and legislation, won’t make it through Congress, executive orders are used if at all possible. Congress and presidents often have been at odds over presidential authority. The matters often end up in court.

President Obama appears to be no different than other presidents when it comes to using executive authority to circumvent Congress. It’s been tried and court-tested before and there will be no end to it regardless of who is in the White House.

/opinion/columns