The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing, this morning to address Obama’s escalating abuses of power.
Entitled, ENFORCING THE PRESIDENT’S CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO FAITHFULLY EXECUTE THE LAWS the hearing’s witness panel included, Mr. Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School, Ms. Elizabeth Price Foley of Florida International University College of Law, and Mr. Christopher Schroeder of Duke University Law School.
Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asked the panel what to most would appear a rhetorical question, “Is unilateral decision making good for our Republican system of government?
Turley, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of Obama’s executive overreach, said, “the greatest danger that we have, really cannot be overstated, when he have the concentration of power in one branch. That is precisely the sort of power the framers were seeking to avoid.”
“What people often miss, he continued “is that the separation of powers was not about protecting Congress – -separation of powers was designed for the protection of liberty. It was to prevent the concentration of power in any of the branches that would threaten the individual citizen.”
Goodlatte asked Professor Foley what she thought the longterm institutional consequences would be if the current practice of “benevolent suspensions of the law” isn’t stopped.
She answered that people are going to continue to be cynical about government and the Constitution, and ultimately eroding respect for the rule of law.
She also brought up the point that it makes it less likely for Congress to tackle big issues like immigration reform, “why would you go through the trouble of reaching a very delicate political compromise on an issue like that if you think that the president is going to just benevolently suspend those portions of the law he doesn’t like after you reach that compromise.” She concluded, “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.”
Goodlatte then asked about the principle of prosecutorial discretion which Obama’s “deferred actions” are based on. “Does prosecutorial discretion have such elasticity that a whole class of people could be recipients of deferred actions based simply on them being in the category…?
Foley said, “yeah, this is sort of a dangerous and scary moment – uh, that’s not discretion – that’s raw, lawmaking power.”