There’s talk that President Obama will ignore Congress and issue Executive Orders to implement new gun regulations over against the clear reading of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Is an Executive Order a law? Will we be obligated to obey it?
Executive Orders have a long history. Republicans and Democrats have issued them. Only a few of them have been overturned by the courts.
Neither Republicans nor Democrats do much about Executive Orders they don’t like since both parties issue them. This is how the Washington game is played.
Republicans and Democrats like Executive Orders on difficult issues because it stops the legislative process that they’ll have to participate in and eventually vote yes or no. They can always tell the voters back home, “Well, I would have voted against that if the President hadn’t issued an Executive Order. Golly gee willikers, now my hands are tied.” Right.
An Executive Order is only valid if it’s done within the jurisdictional authority of the President’s constitutional authority. To rule against the Second Amendment is not a presidential prerogative. If it is, then the President could turn his attention to the First Amendment and issue an order that newspapers can no longer criticize him. Conservative talk radio would die a quick death if the President issued an Executive Order saying that the freedom of speech had to be limited in several ways, one of which was negative political speech, especially about him.