A very emotional President Obama has tried again to restrict the ease of access to gun by introducing executive orders which would expand background checks and narrow the “gun show loophole” in current US law.
This can be used as an example for the powers a President can use even when facing the end of his presidency and/or a hostile Congress. It also shows an excellent example of just what executive orders are, which still baffles many students.
Let’s be clear – an executive order is categorically not new law. Legislation can only be produced by Congress in accordance with the Constitution. Executive Orders then are a president’s requirements on how such laws are to be implemented, remembering that most laws whilst written by Congress are actually put into practice by the President and the Federal Bureaucracy. In this case, that is crucial as it makes Obama’s actions more difficult to take to the Supreme Court.
As Obama is seeking simply to interpret a vague statute that already exists, he is not creating new law in this case but refining existing law and this will make it a difficult action to challenge as this article lays out. This could therefore also be used for the Supreme Court topic who can only see cases based in the Constitution and which are brought to them. It is also useful for the parties topic with Speaker Ryan reacting predictably saying Obama’s actions “will no doubt be challenged in the courts” and “can be overturned by a Republican President.” (CNN)