A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 30, 2010
“Stroke of the pen, law of the land” (executive orders)

U.S. President Bill Clinton was politically weakened in 1998 as a result on the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. Clinton decided to bypass Congress and issue executive orders. Clinton aide Paul Begala was quoted in July 1998: “Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.”

Begala’s comment is recalled by the media whenever a U.S. president issues executive orders. Some scholars, however, have questioned the legality of exeuctive orders that bypass Congress.


Wikipedia: Paul Begala
Paul Edward Begala (born May 12, 1961) is a Democratic political consultant, a political commentator, a former advisor to President Bill Clinton. He gained national prominence as half of the political consulting team Carville and Begala. Until June 2005, Begala was a co-host of CNN’s political debate program, Crossfire. He is Research Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University Public Policy Institute. Currently, he is teaching at the University of Georgia School of Law as a Sanders Political Leadership Scholar.

Wikipedia: Executive order (United States)
An executive order in the United States is an order issued by the President, the head of the executive branch of the federal government. Executive Orders are generally orders to staff of the executive branch and not to the citizens of the country. Article I, Section 1 of the US Constitution specifically reserves all federal legislative authority to Congress, not the president. In other countries, executive edicts can serve a legislative function. Such edicts may be known as decrees, or orders-in-council.

Executive orders may also be issued at the state level by a state’s Governor or at the local level by the city’s Mayor. The term “Executive Orders” and the numbered list of them were created in 1907, but U.S. Presidents have issued instructions that are retroactively labeled Executive Orders since 1789, usually to guide officers and agencies of the Executive branch in managing the operations within the Federal Government itself. Executive orders can have the full force of law if they are made in pursuance of certain Acts of Congress, some of which specifically delegate to the President some degree of discretionary power (delegated legislation). Other Executive Orders not authorized by Congress are claimed to have their authority for issuances based in a power inherently granted to the Executive by the Constitution. It is these cited or perceived justifications made by a President when authoring Executive Orders that have come under criticism for exceeding Executive authority and have been subject to legal proceedings even at various times throughout U.S. history concerning the legal validity or justification behind an order’s issuance.

New York (NY) Times
True to Form, Clinton Shifts Energies Back To U.S. Focus
By JAMES BENNET
Published: July 5, 1998
(...)
With some of his closest advisers deeply pessimistic about the chances of getting major legislation passed during the rest of the year, Mr. Clinton plans to issue a series of executive orders to demonstrate that he can still be effective.

‘’Stroke of the pen,’’ Paul Begala, an aide to Mr. Clinton, said in summarizing the approach. ‘’Law of the land. Kind of cool.’’

5 July 1998, Kansas City (MO) Star, Newsmakers, pg. A2:
OVERHEARD “Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.”—Clinton aide Paul Begala, on the president’s penchant for using executive orders to advance his domestic agenda

GoogleGroups: talk.politics.guns
Newsgroups: talk.politics.guns
From: (KingOpps)
Date: 1998/07/06
Subject: Law of the land???

“Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.” Tell me, how does na Executive order become law of the land WITHOUT being passed by Congress? When was the last time Klinton had the power to make laws that way? Because I nerver heard a thing about it.

Google Groups: alt.politics.clinton
Newsgroups: alt.politics.clinton
From: (tron)
Date: 1998/07/08
Subject: - All Hail the new Ruler of america

The perversion of the U.S. Constitution
“Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.”
--Clinton presidential aide Paul Begala, July 1998

Washington (DC) Examiner
Gene Healy: Congress should ‘shellack’ president’s executive orders
By Gene Healy
Examiner Columnist
11/08/10 12:00 AM
“Stroke of the pen, law of the land—kinda cool”—that’s how Paul Begala described rule by executive order back in 1998, as his boss President Clinton prepared a passel of them, the better to bypass an uncooperative Congress.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Thursday, December 30, 2010 • Permalink