Obama Transition Teams Looks at Unravelling Eight Years of Executive Orders and Signing Statements

225px-george-w-bush220px-barack_obamaWith President Bush accelerating last minute executive orders that would bind an Obama Administration, the transition team has already begun zeroing in on executive orders and signing statements that President Obama should make a priority to eliminate. I discussed the problem on Countdown.

Among the executive orders already discussed are orders dealing with drilling and exploration in Utah, Guantanamo Bay, and embryonic stem cell research. I would expect the limitations on stem cell research to fall in the first few days, a great advance in my view for both politics and science.

A President Obama, however, will have much more (to use a Bush phrase) underbrush to clear after eight years of such orders before he can fully control the actions and direction of his administration. Bush has woven a fairly complex web of such orders covering every possible area of regulation. This includes some classified orders that should be a priority for the new administration.

For the recent story, click here.

13 thoughts on “Obama Transition Teams Looks at Unravelling Eight Years of Executive Orders and Signing Statements”

  1. Prof. Turley,
    I just saw your appearance on Countdown. Great job. I have one question. If there is a regulation that Congress misses on overturning, can’t the Unitary Executive in the form of Barack Obama just decide to not enforce the regulation change? What is good for the goose is good for the gander, isn’t it?

  2. Good work on Countdown,JT. I thought you made a complex topic accessible for the average intellect–like my own. I find it hard to believe but I have come to detest that neo-con gang of sore losers even more.

  3. Prof. Turley I thought you were great on Countdown(as always)
    but unfortunately I’m still worried especially after reading G. Greenwald’s column.

  4. Well said rafflaw, and Bob,Esq, yours is an interesting point. Indeed, positively Nietzschian:

    “Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.”

    I’ll be watching Countdown tonight to see if JT thinks Obama can unravel the Gordian knot and by what means.

  5. “It is noteworthy of comment and a cause for concern — though not conclusive about what Obama will do — that Obama’s transition chief for intelligence policy, John Brennan, was an ardent supporter of torture and one of the most emphatic advocates of FISA expansions and telecom immunity. It would be foolish in the extreme to ignore that and to just adopt the attitude that we should all wait quietly with our hands politely folded for the new President to unveil his decisions before deciding that we should speak up or do anything. Politicians respond to constituencies and pressure. Constituencies which announce their intention to maintain respectful silence all but ensure that their political principles will be ignored.” from today’s column by g. greenwald.

    JT, I’m glad you put this in the blog as well and rafflaw, I also agree with what you wrote.

  6. Deontologically, I’d have to say the answer is clearly no; since the E.O.’s would be, analytically, ones of restraint and ceasing exercises of power beyond the scope of the Executive. However, that doesn’t stop republican pundits from using the paradox argument to attempt to halt or slow down the reversal of Bush’s mess.

  7. I’d be especially interested in learning how the Obama administration plans to deal with the paradox arising from executive orders that were clearly a violation of the separation of powers; i.e. does using the same power to negate the orders and re-restrain the power constitute a violation in itself?

  8. Thanks Rafflaw. I will be discussing this issue, and particularly Gitmo, tonight on Countdown.

  9. Seconded again; well said Rafflaw!

    On George W. Bush’s 1st day in office January 20, 2001 he invoked a clause in the Presidential Records Act to allow him to “review” the Reagan papers before releasing them. This also included his father’s.
    On November 1, 2001 W. signed Executive Order 13233 which limits public access to the papers of all Presidents since 1980.
    This was planned from day one and won’t stop until he, Cheney and the whole cabal are gone for good!

  10. Prof. Turley,
    Thank you for adding this issue to your blog. It is vitally important for Pres. Obama to not only eliminate the executive orders and signing statements that have violated the constitution or that have reached beyond the scope of the Executive branch, but he needs to disclose all of them to show the country what this criminal has been up to the last 8 years. I would also like to see Pres. Obama to declassify the vast amount of materials that do not relate to national security. Especially the material that had once been declassiffied that Bush took off the shelf and relabeled as classified. Obama needs to be the sunshine that discloses the secret torture memos and allow scrutiny of the Bush administration’s actions.

Comments are closed.