In my knowledge, rules may only be amended through special procedures governed by the Administrative Procedure Act. This process usually requires advance notice and a period for public comment on proposed rule amendments. However, I am wondering if the President could bypass this normal process and directly amend the rule by executive order.

2 Answers 2


Amendments to regulations adopted contrary to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) are invalid, or at least, voidable if contested in a timely fashion (which they usually are).

The APA does authorize emergency temporary regulations in some circumstances.


The APA only applies to "agency action". 5 USC 3302 states that "The President may prescribe rules governing the competitive service". Executive Order 13843 then invoked that authority to create a rule. §3 of the order states that

(a) Civil Service Rule VI is amended as follows:

(i) 5 CFR 6.2 is amended to read:

OPM shall list positions that it excepts from the competitive service in Schedules A, B, C, and D, and it shall list the position of administrative law judge in Schedule E, which schedules shall constitute parts of this rule, as follows:

so the authority is not limited to initial creation of rules. Under the previous administration, Executive Order 13562 similarly wrote rules – of the same kind, as authorized by Congress – by executive order. The Administrative Procedures act applies to agencies, and despite the wording of the definition of "agency" in 5 USC 551 and following Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U.S. 788,

The President's actions are not reviewable under the APA. He is not specifically included in the APA's purview, and respect for the separation of powers and the President's unique constitutional position makes textual silence insufficient to subject him to its provisions.

5 USC 7301 states that "The President may prescribe regulations for the conduct of employees in the executive branch". This does not mean that POTUS can issue arbitrary orders to amend rules, but in these cases, Congress authorized the President to write orders.

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