Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and the court ruled that it wasn’t within his authority, I am wondering which President did the most things that the Supreme Court explicitly ruled were unconstitutional, not actions where their constitutionality is questioned by the public but hasn’t be directly ruled against.

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    Does overturning a law they signed count? Jul 13, 2021 at 3:11
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    Yes, I think signing a unconstitutional law would qualify, maybe less so though.
    – The Mamba
    Jul 13, 2021 at 3:12
  • But wouldn't there, or at least shouldn't there be, a difference between actions of the President alone (e.g. executive orders) and where he is "simply" signing a law passed by both houses of Congress? I do understand the concept of "the buck stops here", I just want to ensure we understand the OPs intent.
    – CGCampbell
    Jul 13, 2021 at 14:53
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    I'd think we should leave laws out of it, unless something about the signing itself was deemed unconstitutional (such as the line-item veto). Otherwise, that opens it up to every law that has ever been rejected by SCOTUS on constitutional grounds that wasn't passed by veto-override. (So basically all of them)
    – Bobson
    Jul 13, 2021 at 17:20
  • Ok, let's do that.
    – The Mamba
    Jul 13, 2021 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


FDR, in part, because he was in office the longest, and in part, because the courts early in his Presidency took a crabbed view of what kinds of economic regulation were constitutional that courts later in his Presidency abandoned.

A list of the number of executive orders made by President can be found in this Congressional Research Service report. FDR at 3522 executive orders and an average of 285.64 executive orders per year, is the clear leader by either measure. A general legal overview of this area of law that does not quantify the number held unconstitutional in each administration can be found here. Very granular detail without summaries is available here.

Statutes have been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court a bit fewer than 500 times since 1789 when the current constitution took effect (but any court state or federal can declare a law to be unconstitutional, this power is not reserved to the U.S. Supreme Court in the United States).

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    This is probably correct, but have you actually done the counting?
    – James K
    Jul 13, 2021 at 21:34
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    @JamesK I've seen the answer in charts in the past (in hard copy) although I haven't sourced it with an online source.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 13, 2021 at 21:53
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    What do you mean by "crabbed"? Jul 14, 2021 at 3:38
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    @AndrewGrimm: Technically, the Supreme Court did eventually hold it to have been unconstitutional, in a passing remark in Trump v. Hawaii (2018). Mar 17 at 23:20
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    @NateEldredge it is worthwhile to quote the court's opinion here, attributed to Chief Justice Roberts: "The dissent’s reference to Korematsu, however, affords this Court the opportunity to make express what is already obvious: Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and—to be clear—“has no place in law under the Constitution.” 323 U. S., at 248 (Jackson, J., dissenting)."
    – phoog
    Mar 19 at 10:31

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