Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, testified Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee on the topic of “Enforcing the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws.”

Turley expressed concern that “We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government,” and that “there has been a massive gravitational shift of authority to the Executive Branch that threatens the stability and functionality of our tripartite system.”

He went on to note that the shift did not begin under Obama, but has accelerated under this administration.  “Of even greater concern,” Turley wrote in his remarks, “is the fact that the other two branches appear passive, if not inert, as the Executive Branch has assumed such power.” (Video after the jump).

An additional excerpt from Turley’s prepared remarks:

As someone who voted for President Obama and agrees with many of his policies, it is often hard to separate the ends from the means of presidential action. Indeed, despite decades of thinking and writing about the separation of powers, I have had momentary lapses where I privately rejoiced in seeing actions on goals that I share, even though they were done in the circumvention of Congress. For example, when President Obama unilaterally acted on greenhouse gas pollutants, I was initially relieved. I agree entirely with the priority that he has given this issue. However, it takes an act of willful blindness to ignore that the greenhouse regulations were implemented only after Congress rejected such measures and that a new sweeping regulatory scheme is now being promulgated solely upon the authority of the President. We are often so committed to a course of action that we conveniently dismiss the means as a minor issue in light of the goals of the Administration. Many have embraced the notion that all is fair in love and politics. However, as I have said too many times before Congress, in our system it is often more important how we do something than what we do. Priorities and policies (and presidents) change. What cannot change is the system upon which we all depend for our rights and representation.

Turley continued in his remarks by providing a series of potential solutions to assist in restoring balance to the system.

His written testimony concluded, in part, as follows:

We are now at the constitutional tipping point for our system. If balance is to be reestablished, it must begin before this President leaves office and that will likely require every possible means to reassert legislative authority. No one in our system can “go it alone” – not Congress, not the courts, and not the President. We are stuck with each other in a system of shared powers — for better or worse. We may deadlock or even despise each other. The Framers clearly foresaw such periods. They lived in such a period. Whatever problems we are facing today in politics, they are problems of our own making. They should not be used to take from future generations a system that has safeguarded our freedoms for over 250 years.

It’s an interesting read; you can read his remarks in their entirety here.  Portions of Turley’s remarks can be seen on video below, and the entire hearing can be viewed here.

(h/t Washington Free Beacon)


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