During Congressional hearings concerning Presidential powers and President Barack Obama’s non-enforcement of certain provisions included in the Affordable Care Act Tuesday, George Washington University Professor of Public Interest Law Johnathon Turley told lawmakers that Obama has become the “very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid.”
Turley testified before the House Judiciary Committee that the President has “an undeniable pattern of circumventing Congress in the creation of new major standards, exceptions, or outright nullifications.”
This, the professor said, has given rise to a fourth branch of government where massive agencies are free to determine their own jurisdictions.
From Turley’s testimony:
The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power in every single branch.
This Newtonian orbit that the three branches exist in is a delicate one but it is designed to prevent this type of concentration. There is two trends going on which should be of equal concern to all members of Congress. One is that we have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama. We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are quite large that issue regulations. The Supreme Court said recently that agencies could actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction.
Turley is one of several Constitutional law experts to criticize the Presidents abuse of the Constitution during the hearings.
Nicholas Rosenkranz, a constitutional law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, said that the President has also changed the scope of the government’s prosecutorial discretion, particularly with regard to illegal immigrants.
“This is a scale of decision making that is not within the traditional conception of prosecutorial discretion,” Rosenkranz said.
As we previously reported, Michael Cannon, Director of Cato’s Health Policy Studies, said that the President’s failure to adhere to laws could give American citizens justification to follow suit in seeking to improve government on their own terms.
“There is one last … thing to which the people can resort if the government does not respect the restraints that the Constitution places on the government,” Cannon told lawmakers. “Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it.