He delayed the deportation of young illegal immigrants when Congress wouldn’t agree. He ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence, which Congress halted nearly 15 years ago. He told the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, deciding that the 1996 law defining marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. He’s vowed to act on his own if Congress didn’t pass policies to prepare for climate change.

Arguably more than any other president in modern history, he’s using executive actions, primarily orders, to bypass or pressure a Congress where the opposition Republicans can block any proposal.

“It’s gridlocked and dysfunctional. The place is a mess,” said Rena Steinzor, a law professor at the University of Maryland. “I think (executive action) is an inevitable tool given what’s happened.”…

“I think President Obama has been as equally aggressive as President Bush, and in fact he has sometimes used the very same language to suggest that he would not obey congressional laws that intrude on his commander-in-chief power,” said Yoo, who’s now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “This is utterly hypocritical, both when compared to his campaign stances and the position of his supporters in Congress, who have suddenly discovered the virtues of silence.”…

“It seems to be more calculated to prod Congress,” said Phillip J. Cooper, the author of “By Order of the President: The Use and Abuse of Executive Direct Action.” “I can’t remember a president being that consistent, direct and public.”