Are executive orders strong enough to protect civil rights?

Renna Popli, Junior Editor

Joe Biden is almost over a month into his presidency and has undone much of the work that former president Donald Trump did during his own administration, but if it’s so easy to undo each others’ executive orders, then what’s the point?

“I’m not making new law, I’m eliminating bad policy,” said President Joe Biden on February 2nd. 

An executive order is one of three presidential documents that can be used by the president to create or enforce law. These orders are written and signed by the president, and require no approval by congress. This also means that congress cannot technically repeal an executive order, so theoretically they are quite effective. Once a president enacts an executive order, that immediately becomes law, and will remain so until another president takes office. 

The issue with executive orders is that they are very easily overturned. Once there is a president who disagrees with any executive orders currently in place, he/she/they can simply sign a new executive order to undo the last. This means that whenever the White House falls into the hands of a new party, a large amount of actions taken by the previous president will likely be undone. 

“I think that since executive orders can easily be changed by another president, congress should approve of the executive order the president implements so that it can become real legislation” said Arushi Garg (‘23). 

Joe Biden has already made 29 executive orders in his first three weeks as president, some of which were just undoing Trump era policies. While this can be seen as progress, it is necessary that he send his policies through congress and make them into true legislation so they can’t be undone by the next Republican president. 

Democrats currently control all three branches of government, which means that it should be very easy for them to have legislation sent through congress and made into law as opposed to just writing executive orders without the backing of congress. While it is positive that Biden is using a method that can be enforced almost immediately, it is strange to see his administration neglecting to take advantage of the Democratic congress, which may no longer be present in two years.