Under What Circumstances Can Executive Orders Be Enforced In a Judicial Proceeding ?

In Shapp v. Butera, 22 Pa. Commw. 229, 348 A.2d 910 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1975), this Court reviewed the different types of executive orders and under what circumstances they could be enforced in a judicial proceeding. The Court held that a gubernatorial directive "intended for communication with subordinate officials . . . for the execution of the duties of the Executive Branch of government" is non-justiciable and not enforceable by court order. Id. at 913. Instead, the penalty for noncompliance would be a "demotion, . . . reprimand, or a loss of favor." Id. By contrast, an executive order that serves to implement a statute can have the force of law and, thus, can be enforced in a court of law. Id. However, the Court also cautioned as follows: In no event, however, may any executive order be contrary to any constitutional or statutory provision, nor may it reverse, countermand, interfere with, or be contrary to any final decision or order of any court. the Governor's power is to execute the laws and not to create or interpret them.The Legislative Branch of government creates laws, and the Judicial Branch interprets them. Id. at 914.