Jonathan Turley is a brilliant Constitutional scholar at Georgetown University. Sadly, Professor Turley also happens to be a dyed-in-the-wool liberal. But his liberal leanings haven’t blinded him to the terribly illegal procedures President Obama is using to drive his liberal agenda.
Unlike many other liberals, Turley does not believe the ends justify the means in this case and worries of a future where a conservative President uses President Obama’s actions to justify their own illegal actions. In fact, many liberals may rue the day they defended President Obama’s illegal executive actions and memoranda … because there may be some unprincipled Republicans willing follow his lead.
Turley’s dissection of the problems with too much Executive Power is exceptional and hopefully it’s a lesson that liberals will be willing to learn.
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Turley: There is an issue whether the judge reached a bit too far from the case at hand. This really wasn’t a direct challenge to the immigration action taken by the president but it is scathing and the judge is touching on many complaints that have been raised in other lawsuits that do directly challenge these actions.
What’s a serious question here is the president’s decision to go it alone, not just in this area but other areas. We don’t have a license to go it alone in the United States. The scope of this type of action is legislative. It’s huge. It affects millions. But more importantly, it requires both the federal and state government to spend a great deal of money to support something that didn’t go through the legislative branch. And what people miss, and I think what this judge is trying to establish, is that that process of legislation is the very touch stone of our system, it’s what brings stability to our system. We have to agree, we have to compromise with legislation. When a president does it unilaterally, it takes that whole system off line. And that could be a dangerous thing.
Hannity: Why do you use the words constitutional tipping point? And you said that even before this executive action on immigration. Why do you say that? Because that’s harsh, severe language.
Turley: Well, I think we are at a tipping point. This process, this trend didn’t start with President Obama. We’ve seen this trend growing over the years. The center of gravity in our system, our three branch system is moving and we’re creating this all powerful presidency, this type of uber presidency.
The key to a Madisonian system is that nobody has enough power to go it alone, that was the genius of James Madison. But we’re seeing the rise of a new model of presidency and I believe that supporters of President Obama will rue the day when they stay silent in the face of this kind of concentration of power. This is the very danger that the constitution was designed to prevent, the concentration of power in one person’s hands or one branch…
The important thing is for people to understand that what we’re seeing is a change in our system. This is very system. It is nothing to do with President Obama’s policies. Some of us may agree with those. It’s how he’s doing it, not what he’s doing. And that should unite everyone. We just had a report come out today of a huge number of what’s called memoranda that the president’s issuing —
Hannity: More than any other president.
Turley: That’s right. And so, we’re losing the focus of our system. We’re becoming even less formal. We’ve gone from presidential orders to memoranda and we’re devolving in that sense in the way that the framers wanted…
This president has shown that there are limits to the power of the purse. Many of the changes that he ordered in areas like healthcare were ordered by him unilaterally. He did not get appropriations or approval. The Libyan war was funded entirely out of discretionary funds. And so the power of the purse has its own limits in light of this emerging new presidency that we’re seeing. That’s what makes this so dangerous. We’re dealing with what is becoming a different type of system and what the framers believed the separation of powers would accomplish was to protect liberty, you know it wasn’t there to protect the three branches, it was there to protect individual liberty from the concentration of power.
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