From Rep. James Clyburn on Executive Power

From RealClearPolitics (which also has video):

“I’ve said time and time again, if the President gets up to August 2nd, without a piece of legislation, he should not allow this country to go into default. He should sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment and send that to all the governmental agencies for us to continue to pay our bills. He could do that with a stroke of a pen.

We’ve seen many big things done in history that way. I joked with my staff the other day, telling what was the bill number of the Emancipation Proclamation, it was an executive order. We integrated the armed services by executive order. We integrated public schools by executive order. Sometimes executives must order that things get done.

Of course, the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order expressly issued under Lincoln’s “power in me vested [by the Constitution] as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion.” Freeing slaves in rebel states was a war-making act against the enemy, much as seizing any other enemy property would have been within the President’s authority. That’s why the Proclamation didn’t cover slaves in non-rebel areas. Integration of the armed services was likewise by Executive Order because the President has the power as commander-in-chief over the military, and there were to my knowledge no federal statutes limiting that power. (Congress does have substantial concurrent power “to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces,” but I don’t believe there was any statute at the time providing for segregation in the armed forces.)

And of course public schools were integrated as a result of Supreme Court decisions. The President was only involved in sending out troops to enforce a court decision, not issuing an executive order that would violate the law.

Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer.

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