On January 3rd, 1959 Alaska was formally granted statehood placing the 49th star on our Flag. Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.


Here, it says it was an executive order of the president that brougth the change, but I am wondering if Congress as such power to bring about a design change in the flag of the United States.


No, it does not have to be an executive order. Yes, it can be an Act of Congress

From the same site you cite:

The 15-star, 15-stripe flag was authorized by the Flag Act of January 13, 1794, adding 2 stripes and 2 Stars.


Certain elements of the flag's design are specified by statute, namely 4 USC 1-2:

§1 The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be forty-eight stars, white in a blue field.

§2 On the admission of a new State into the Union one star shall be added to the union of the flag; and such addition shall take effect on the fourth day of July then next succeeding such admission.

The rest of the design is specified by executive order (EO 10834, to be precise). I won't quote the whole thing here, because it's rather heavy on detail, but it includes a couple of tables and a detailed diagram specifying the dimensions of the flag and the arrangement of the stars.

The president can change anything that has been specified by executive order, and can specify additional details that haven't been specified, as long as nothing in the president's order contradicts the statute. Congress can add additional details to the statutory specifications, in which case the president's orders might have to be modified to comply.


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