How is an executive order different from a law?

1 Answer | Add Yours

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In terms of their powers, there is no difference between an executive order and a law.  Executive orders have the force of law and must be obeyed unless they are overturned by some competent authority, like the Supreme Court.

The major difference between the two comes in how they are made.  A law must go through the entire legislative process.  It must be approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President.  By contrast, an executive order does not have to do any of these things.  A president can simply draft and issue an executive order without any formal approval from any other part of government. 

Thus, both executive orders and laws have the force of law and must be obeyed, but the two are created in very different ways.

We’ve answered 317,598 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question