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How Executive Orders Work

Author's Note

Before researching this article, I might have supported the political worldview that presidents don't really matter. There are so many players in the global political landscape -- Tea Party activists, Middle East dictators, European socialists -- that how much difference could one man (or woman) make? A lot, it turns out. Not only is the U.S. president a highly visible representative of American interests abroad, but he leads the political conversation at home. Executive orders, while not mentioned in the Constitution, have become an effective means of direct executive influence. Of course we love executive orders when our candidate is sitting in the Oval Office and we hate them when it's the other guy. So ask me again in four more years.

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  • The American Presidency Project. University of California Santa Barbara. "Executive Orders: Washington – Obama" (May 23, 2012.)
  • CNN. "Obama signs order to close Guantanamo Bay facility." January 22, 2009 (May 23, 2012.)
  • Contrubis, John. Congressional Research Service. "Executive Orders and Proclamations." March 9, 1999 (May 29, 2012.)
  • Farley, Robert. "Obama announces changes to Guantanamo detention facility." March 9, 2011 (May 23, 2012.)
  • "Executive Order 9066: Resulting in the Relocation of Japanese (1942)" (May 23, 2012.)
  • Patterson, Thomas E. We the People. "The Presidency: Leading a Nation." McGraw-Hill Higher Education 2004 (May 23, 2012.)
  • Paulsen, Michael Stokes. The Weekly Standard. "No Rule by Decree." April 30, 2012 (May 23, 2012.)
  • Risen, James; and Lichtblau, Eric. The New York Times. "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts." December 16, 2005 (May 23, 2012.)
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