Executive Order (CongressionalGlossary.com)

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Executive Order


Executive orders are unilateral orders issued by the president, without congressional approval. They are official documents, numbered consecutively, through which the president manages the operations of the federal government. Presidential executive orders and proclamations are available through the National Archives web site and also in the Federal Register.


Examples of executive orders include Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, which authorized the internment of tens of thousands of American citizens of Japanese ancestry and resident aliens from Japan, and Executive Order 10340, signed by President Truman on December 16, 1950, directing the secretary of commerce to take possession of and operate the plants and facilities of certain steel companies. The Supreme Court in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952), held that Executive Order 10340 “was not authorized by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and it cannot stand.”


Also see Executive Branch; Federal Register; President of the United States; § 9.70 Laws and Their Codification, in Congressional Deskbook.

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