On Wednesday, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley testified before the House Judiciary Committee. Turley, the second-most cited law professor in the country, voted for and is a supporter of Pres. Barack Obama. Nevertheless, he cautioned lawmakers about the president’s abusive concentrations of power which have brought the nation to a “constitutional tipping point.” He also stated that if left unchecked Pres. Obama could “effectively become a government unto himself.” (Oops, too late, already happened.)
In his prepared statement, Prof. Turley warned of Pres. Obama’s penchant for circumventing Congress on several occasions over the past few years, including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, selective enforcement of U.S. immigration law, and unilateral changes made to environmental policy.
Turley strongly stated,
We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government.
Turley also testified:
“Now, I want to emphasize, of course, that this problem didn’t begin with President Obama. I was critical of his predecessor, President Bush, as well, but the rate at which executive power is being concentrated in our system is accelerating. And, frankly, I am very alarmed by the implications of that aggregation of power.”
“What also alarms me, however, is that the two other branches appear not just simply passive, but inert in the face of this concentration of authority.”
“The fact that I happen to think the president is right on many of these policies does not alter the fact that I believe the means he is doing is wrong, and that this can be a dangerous change in our system. And our system is changing in a very fundamental way.”
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), one of four members of Congress who has introduced legislation to curb the president’s executive authority, also testified before the Judiciary Committee, stating that the president’s “outrageous shell game is a perfect example of this pen and phone president circumventing the will of Congress to force his own agenda and is exactly why the American people cannot trust this administration.”
“President Obama’s actions have pushed executive power beyond all limits and created what has been characterized as an uber-presidency,” complained Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) noted that the Obama administration has “revised, altered and effectively rewritten” Obamacare 23 times since July.
While the focus was primarily on the president, Turley also chastised Congress as well, expressing disappointment that lawmakers have not stepped forward to obstruct Pres. Obama’s power grab. “There’s not been a whimper of regret or opposition of any substance coming from Congress,” he said, “to watch their power usurped by another branch, you would think would concentrate the minds of all members.”
Turley further rebuked members of Congress:
“Recently, Congress has seemed, frankly, feckless and uncertain as to its authority.”
“For Congress not to act, in my view, borders on self-loathing. I don’t understand why Congress would allow a president to come to this body and ask for reforms, some of which I happen to agree with, and then simply take unilateral action once this body refuses to implement those reforms.”
Also testifying at the committee meeting was Florida International University law professor Elizabeth Price Foley, who scolded lawmakers, “If you want to stay relevant as an institution, I would suggest that you not stand idly by and let the president take your power away.”
You can read Prof. Turley’s remarks from Wednesday in their entirety here.
Prof. Turley earlier testified before the Judiciary Committee on December 3, 2013. On that occasion, Turley stated the following about President Obama and his concentration of power: “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.”
Watch Prof. Turley’s earlier testimony in the video BELOW.
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