There’s always some confusion about what an executive action is so let’s clear this little issue up since the media sucks at its job:
EXECUTIVE ORDER: a directive issued to federal agencies, department heads, or other federal employees by the President of the United States under his statutory or constitutional powers. Executive orders are legally binding and published in the Federal Register.
Every president in the nation with the exception of William Henry Harrison, who caught pneumonia at this inauguration and died a month later, has issued executive orders. It is a power enumerated in the body of the Constitution itself. George Washington issued 8. Franklin D. Roosevelt issued 3,721. And Barrack Obama? 227. 64 fewer than Dubya (though he could catch up), 137 fewer than Bill Clinton, and 154 fewer than Ronald Reagan. (I skipped Bush I as he was only a 1 term president, but in comparison, he issued 166 orders v. B.O.s 147 in his first term). There is NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING unconstitutional about an E.O. If Congress has a problem with it, they have a solution…it is NOT suing the fucking White House, it’s getting off their dead asses and actually doing their jobs.
PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM: Are similar to Executive Orders. A clear distinction cannot be made; they are both forms of executive legislation (YES, there is a such thing as Executive legislation, just as there is Judicial legislation – anyone who doesn’t realize that has NOT studied the Constitution or is lying to you intentionally assuming YOU are ignorant) that must possess similar authority. If issued under a valid claim of authority and published, executive orders and presidential memoranda have the force and effect of law and courts are required to take judicial notice of their existence.
PMs however come in three specific forms; presidential determination or finding, memorandum of disapproval, and hortatory memorandum.
Barrack Obama has issued 198 PMs – more than any president in history.
They include a number of veto statements, things like; “Presidential Determination and Memorandum — Determination with Respect to the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 and Delegation of Authority Under Section 404(c) of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008” and “Letter from Raul Castro — Re-establishing Diplomatic Relations and Permanent Diplomatic Missions.”
All can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/presidential-memoranda
A Presidential determination, or presidential finding, is memoranda required by a statute and must be issued before certain actions are taken. For example, a presidential determination on the status of a country must be released before sanctions are imposed on the country.
A memorandum of disapproval is a public veto statement.
A hortatory memorandum is issued as a broad policy statement, but unlike a Presidential Proclamation is directed to executive agencies.
EXECUTIVE ACTION (aka Presidential Proclamation): A good way to think of executive actions is a wish list of policies the president would like to see enacted, or a ceremonial proclamation. But an Executive Action has no weight in law. NONE. It is advisory only.
Executive actions do not have a single listing source… there’s just too damned many of them. They range from proclamations of declaring December 2016 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions) (NOTE: Presidential Actions is just the title of this webpage, it is just a category made up to include ALL the above) to the declaration of the Celebration of the Pelted Weasel Squirrel (which I just made up).
In May 2016 alone, President Barrack Obama issued the following Presidential Proclamations:
- National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, 2016
- African-American Music Appreciation Month, 2016
- Great Outdoors Month, 2016
- National Oceans Month, 2016
- LGBT Pride Month, 2016
- Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2016
- National Maritime Day, 2016
- Armed Forces Day, 2016
- National Safe Boating Week, 2016
- National Hepatitis Testing Day, 2016
- National Hurricane Preparedness Week, 2016
- National Defense Transportation Day and National Transportation Week, 2016
- Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week, 2016
- Emergency Medical Services Week, 2016
- National Women’s Health Week, 2016
- Military Spouse Appreciation Day, 2016
The terms executive action, presidential memorandum, and executive order are not interchangeable – in spite of a penchant for various biased MSM sites for doing so.