- - Monday, February 24, 2014

Presidents have long abused their powers by circumventing Congress with executive orders, which could be construed as unconstitutional in many cases. Presidential executive orders began with Herbert Hoover, proliferated with Dwight Eisenhower and have become commonplace presidential instruments. Over the past 60 years, approximately 3,200 executive orders have been enacted: 1,830 by Republicans and 1,370 by Democrats.

President Obama is currently using executive orders to circumvent the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. He recently proclaimed, “When I can act on my own without Congress, I’m going to do so.” He ordered an increase in the minimum wage for federal contractors and extended the deadline for the implementation of elements of Obamacare for one year. He lifted a ban that automatically prohibited people who provided “limited material support” to terrorists from entering the United States.

The Supreme Court plans to review the constitutional limits of executive power, including the unprecedented number of Obama appointments made when Congress has been in recess.

Although all presidents use executive orders, Mr. Obama is the first president to publicly proclaim this maneuver as an official part of administration policy. The Supreme Court might have to take action to halt the nation’s slide down the slippery slope .

DONALD A. MOSKOWITZ

Londonderry, N.H.