Opinion: Executive orders show Congress needs to take back its authority

Aug 31, 2021, 8:49 AM
Biden courts executive orders struck down...
FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2021, file photo, housing advocates protest on the eviction moratorium in New York. The Supreme Court is allowing evictions to resume across the United States, blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. Roughly 3.5 million people in the United States said they faced eviction in the next two months, according to Census Bureau data from early August. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File)
(AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — A series of executive orders from President Joe Biden have recently been struck down in the courts.

Which makes me ask: Why won’t Congress take back its power, use its lawmaking ability and do its job? When Congress abdicates its authority, presidents of either political party and the executive branch agencies are all too happy to take that power and use it through executive orders or agency edicts.

Executive orders, strike one

The US Supreme Court tossed the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium on Thursday last week.

Congress was notified that if it wanted to extend the moratorium past July 31, 2021, it had to pass new legislation and send it to President Joe Biden to sign into law. (That’s the way lawmaking is supposed to work.)

But Congress failed to act, so the Executive Branch did, in the case through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Once that action took place, a lawsuit was filed and the matter moved to the courts and  Judicial Branch of the federal government.

“If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it,” the court said.

Instead, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the last iteration of the moratorium on Aug. 3, three days after it had expired.

The justices were not having it, according to ABC News legal analyst Royal Oakes:

The Biden administration relied on a statute from the 1940s that let the CDC to take steps to protect public health. But the High Court said that that had to do with things like fumigation and pest control and can’t be used as a basis to ban evictions . . . The CDC has no power to say in counties with high COVID rates, the tenants are protected from evictions.

When a president overreaches by executive orders, or an executive-branch agency overreaches, it’s going to end up in the courts.

Strike two

The justices weren’t finished. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court reinstated the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which Mr. Biden tried to reverse. The program directs asylum seekers to remain in Mexico — rather than inside the United States — while they await the outcome of their cases.

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority includes three justices appointed by then-President Trump, according to Reuters.

Strike three

A federal judge in Louisiana blocked the Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty ordered that lease sales continue for the Gulf of Mexico and Alaskan waters “and all eligible onshore properties,” according to the Associated Press.

In response, the Biden administration will restart oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters as it complies with this ruling by federal Judge Doughty.

This is a good reminder that presidents will take whatever power is advocated by the Congress. Also, a reminder that we should make sure that each branch of the federal government does what it’s supposed to do, and only what it’s supposed to do. 


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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Opinion: Executive orders show Congress needs to take back its authority