Good stuff from Jonathan Turley at today’s House hearing on executive power, although I regret that I couldn’t find a more user-friendly format for you to watch. There’s no compilation clip; you’ll have to make do with the C-SPAN embed by fast-forwarding to the time cues I give you and being patient while the vid buffers (and buffers, and buffers). At 1:10:55 he describes the “royal prerogative” that the Constitution was designed to eliminate but which Obama, through the growth of the administrative state and his own expansive view of executive discretion, is now flirting with. At 2:53:45, he applies that concept to O’s war powers, specifically vis-a-vis Libya and the White House “kill list.” If you have time for only one snippet, though, skip to 2:33:00 for his list of Obama’s five most egregious violations of separation of powers. Some are familiar to you — declaring that he wouldn’t deport illegals who might qualify for DREAM, refusing to enforce the employer mandate, etc — but the ones about him shifting money around without regard to how Congress has appropriated it might not be. Turley makes two valuable points here. One: Courts tend to give the executive a wide berth in separation-of-powers challenges on the theory that Congress has the power of the purse and can defund any executive agency it likes. But that’s not true anymore, he says. Obama, by defying appropriations, has claimed some of that power for himself. What check does Congress have left? That brings us to point two: Even if Congress can’t stop Obama, the courts can. The problem there, though, says Turley, is that O and the DOJ have argued successfully in many cases that no one has standing to sue him because no one can show an injury from his power grabs that’s concrete enough to justify a federal lawsuit. So the courts can’t check him either.
The only check is to beat him at the polls, and since he’s now term-limited, there’s no real check there apart from his party’s fear that they’ll be punished for his excesses instead. Show of hands: Who thinks Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will keep Obama in line? Before you answer, note that leading amnesty shill Luis Gutierrez argued at this same hearing that, if anything, Obama should have a freer hand so that he can go about unilaterally legalizing the illegals Gutierrez has been effectively representing in Congress for years. That’s what’s left of Democratic opposition to the imperial executive.
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