Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy

Document Type

Symposium Article


Executive orders, used by presidents to advance their administrations’ agendas, have changed history. These powerful written instruments were used to confine Japanese Americans during World War II, desegregate public schools, and create NASA. On the day of his inauguration, President Donald J. Trump issued his first Executive Order which directed secretaries of executive branch agencies to begin dismantling President Barack Obama’s flagship initiative—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This action, along with subsequent executive orders, precipitated a flurry of regulatory change and judicial challenges. Whether President Trump will ultimately be successful in crippling the ACA is still to be determined; however, his use of executive orders and the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the scope and limits of presidential authority will affect all future administrations.