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Professor Jonathan Turley’s Scolds Obama on his Unconstitutional Power Grab

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 19, 2014

Professor Jonathan Turley is a well-respected constitutional law expert. His credentials include currently holding the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School. In addition, he was youngest professors to be offered tenure at Tulane University School of Law.

Turley’s politics are liberal and he is stated: “I happen to support most of the changes that President Obama has ordered. I voted for him. I voted for him in 2008.” In adding to his liberal credentials, he sought criminal prosecution of the Bush administration for torture and is vocally against the death penalty.

Turley has recently testified before Congress on perhaps the most important constitutional issue facing the country. He expressed strong intellectual concerns about the increasing power of the Executive Branch and more specifically the unconstitutional power grab by President Obama. Turley’s testimony included in the video posted below is chilling and in fact he proffers the view that Congress’s current lawsuit against Obama is not only appropriate, but necessary to protect the Constitution stating: “You asked if I think a lawsuit would be a good idea? I do.” Included below are additional quotes from that testimony.

Turley’s unquestionable liberal credentials should remove from the discussion of Obama’s unconstitutional power grab the claim that it is a partisan political issue. It is that only if the Constitution is ignored and one happens to agree with the Uber-president’s policies. To my liberal friends, as Turley correctly points out, there are going to be other presidents in the future. Once we travel down this slippery slope of the executive branch trampling on the Constitution, the consequences are scary, but unfortunately predictable.

Professor Turley’s statements before Congress:

  • There’s a growing crisis in our system, a shifting of the balance of power within the tripartite system in favor of now dominant chief executive.
  • Our system is changing and his body is the one branch that must act if we are to reverse those changes.
  • We are seeing the emergence of a different kind of government, a model long ago rejected by the framers.
  • The President’s pledged to effectively govern alone is alarming, and what is most alarming is his ability to fulfill that pledge. When a president can govern alone, he can become a government in itself, which is precisely the danger the framers sought to avoid.
  • What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest crises that expect the members of this committee and his body will face.
  • People misconstrue the separation of powers regularly. It is not there to protect the institutional rights of the branches. It is there to protect individual liberty. It was created by the framers to prevent any branch from aggregating enough power to be a danger to liberty.
  • This is not a question of what should be done. . It is a question of how it should be done and more importantly who should do it.
  • The framers repeatedly rejected that type a notion that the executive has to essentially rework legislation, to use what we would call an executive prerogative.
  • As much as I respect the President, the arguments he is making over presidential authority are extreme …
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