Briefing Room
Peter Shane


An executive order can’t fix Trump’s census problem

July 9, 2019 | Media News

Professor Peter Shane recently authored an article in The Atlantic titled, “An Executive Order Can’t Fix Trump’s Census Problem.”

“President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will consider using an executive order to get a citizenship question on the 2020 census is but the latest presidential attempt to exaggerate or mythologize the power of the executive order. But a president who wants to shape the world via executive order must face four inconvenient legal truths,” Shane wrote.

“The first is that the Constitution gives presidents very little peacetime domestic power to do anything that affects the world beyond the executive branch itself. Regulating interstate and foreign commerce—that’s a congressional power. Raising and supporting the military—likewise. So are a great many other things, such as the control of public lands, the protection of intellectual property—and the direction of the census.”