Stopping Biden? Republican-controlled state legislatures question the constitutionality of presidential executive orders
By JD Heyes // Jan 05, 2023

"President" Joe Biden may be about to get some major pushback on his agenda from several state legislatures controlled by Republicans as they begin to question the constitutionality of blanket executive orders that carry the weight of actual laws.

In Missouri, Rep. Brian Seitz, a Republican from the vacation town of Branson, is heading into his third session of the General Assembly when it convenes in Jefferson City on Jan. 4 and, for the third time in a row, he plans on introducing legislation that would require state lawmakers to scrutinize and perhaps even disregard certain executive orders, The Epoch Times reported.

His proposed measure, House Bill 174, would require the state House to review all presidential executive orders not summarily affirmed by an act of the federal Congress in order to determine if "they are, in fact, constitutional," he told the outlet.

If Missouri legislators have questions or issues regarding an order's constitutionality, then Seitz's measure requires that the matter be referred to the Missouri Attorney General's office to then see if it "restricts a person's constitutional rights."

“I’m a firm believer in states’ rights, and am very concerned about losing our authority [as a legislature] to federal overreach,” Seitz said.

The bill would apply to any executive order that relates to “regulation of business activities or personal behaviors during a pandemic or other public health emergency,” a state's natural resources, the agricultural industry, the use of land, “the financial sector through the imposition of environmental, social, or governance [ESG] standards, and “the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

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“There are three branches of the government—not one,” Seitz said, going on to point out that his bill “would cover executive orders from presidents of either party.”

That said, The Epoch Times noted further:

But make no mistake: The bill—along with Senate companions filed by Sen. Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville)—is hardly bipartisan in genesis.

Since Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as president in January 2021, similar bills have been introduced in at least nine other Republican-controlled state legislatures: Alabama, Utah, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Iowa, and South Carolina.

The Oklahoma and Tennessee bills advanced through committees to chamber votes in 2021 but ultimately were not adopted.

Karla Jones, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) senior director for Homeland Security, International Relations, and Federalism, told the outlet that these bills are simply in response to "federal overreach that infringes on state sovereignty."

Her organization, which is based in Washington, D.C., produces a great many conservative policy guides as well as model bills to be introduced into state legislatures as they begin annual and semi-annual sessions.

Regarding presidential executive orders, the group adopted a model legislation in response to bills that were submitted by state lawmakers in six states during the 2021 legislative session.

“We just saw [the bills] proliferating because executive orders were becoming such a problem,” Jones told The Epoch Times. “There was a lot of alarm among state lawmakers who care about federalism and worry about federal overreach.”

During Biden's first six months in the Oval office, he “was on track to issue more executive orders than FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt],” she said. “He has since leveled off considerably and is now pretty equal with President Donald Trump, who also issued more executive orders than we thought was prudent.”

The day Biden was inaugurated he had a stack of executive orders nearly two feet high waiting for him to sign -- many of which had to do with ending President Donald Trump's highly effective immigration and border security policies.

For her part, Jones laid a lot of the blame for an excess of executive orders in modern times on Congress.

“Congress doesn’t have the political will to do the hard work, so many presidents rely on executive orders,” she said. “George Washington had, like, one. Single-digit executive orders,” during a presidency “was typical for the first 50 years of our history.”

Sources include:

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