Andrew Napolitano Warns of Little-Known ‘Danger’ of Executive Action Versus Executive Order

Though the terms “executive order” and “executive action” often seem to be interchangeable, in Judge Andrew Napolitano’s eyes, there is a certain “danger” that comes with executive action.

The conversation came as Napolitano, who served on New Jersey’s superior court from 1987-1995 and is now Fox News’ senior judicial analyst, and Glenn Beck discussed President Barack Obama’s executive actions on gun control, which were introduced last week.

Judge Andrew Napolitano explains the difference between executive orders and executive actions on "The Glenn Beck Program" Monday, Jan. 11.
Judge Andrew Napolitano explains the difference between executive orders and executive actions on The Glenn Beck Program Monday.

“Let me warn you about another danger. The president keeps referring to this as executive action rather than an executive order,” Napolitano told Beck on The Glenn Beck Program Monday night. “Executive action is when he tells someone in the executive branch to do something and he either doesn’t tell them in writing or he keeps the writing secret.”

According to Napolitano, issuing an executive action rather than an executive order will make it “more difficult and cumbersome” to challenge legally. The former judge defended his claim with a reference to the president’s executive orders on immigration, which were ultimately defeated in court by then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), who now serves as the state’s governor.

“When he did the immigration shenanigans, he put everything in executive orders, we all saw it, we all analyzed it,” Napolitano said. “Then-Attorney General now-Gov. Greg Abbott, saw it, his team of lawyers analyzed it, challenged it, and they won.”

Napolitano credited that victory to the fact that Abbott and his legal team had written documents to challenge.

“Without a document in writing, we haven’t seen one yet, this came out seven days ago, it is more difficult to challenge because they’ll start this before there’s anything in writing for us to look at,” Napolitano concluded.

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