Which President used the most signing statements & executive orders?

Republicans are raising money from gullible voters by complaining that Obama is overstepping his bounds by issuing Executive Orders and using Signing Statements.  This is the newest installment in “Pot Calling Kettle Black” series.

Previous administrations had made use of signing statements to dispute the validity of a new law or its individual components or to influence the enforcement of the law. Both parties copiously apply this method to bend the law to their agenda. Analysis of each President and act is beyond the scope of this article, but the sheer volume of Orders and Statements should preclude one side from tarring the other with the “treason” brush, for crying out loud.

Here’s the tally for the last few Prezzies. George H. W. Bush challenged 232 statutes through signing statements during four years in office and Clinton challenged 140 over eight years.

George W. Bush’s 130 signing statements contain at least 1,100 challenges. That is one way to try to affect the execution of laws as a President.

If Congress will not act, then the President has another way to accomplish hir goals,by using the traditional privilege to issue Executive Orders. These do not have the force of law and can be reversed by subsequent Presidents.

George Washington issued the first Executive Orders.

President, and Executive Order count:

  • Nixon*, 346;
  • Ford, 169;
  • Carter, 320;
  • Reagan* 381;
  • George H.W. Bush, 166;
  • Clinton*, 364;
  • G.W.Bush*, 291,
  • Obama* 182

Executive Orders, Signing Statements, and Proclamations have always been with us, used by each party liberally.

*Indicates 2-term Presidents. No adjustment for Nixon’s shortened term or Obama’s 2nd mid-term status.

All figures from Wikipedia.

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