House Judiciary Committee To Hear Testimony On President Obama’s Authority To Suspend Or Change Federal Laws

260px-capitol_building_full_viewThis morning I will testify in Congress before the House Judiciary Committee on “The President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws.” The hearing will address areas where President Obama has ordered the delay or nonenforcement of federal laws. While I happen to agree with some of these policies, I have great reservations about this record and its implications for the separation of powers.

I hope to make it because I am fighting to get over the flu. My greatest concern is not to lose it before live on C-Span. Hopefully, that pained expression on my face will be interpreted as concern for the Constitution and the Republic. Also testifying with me will be Michael Cannon, Simon Lazarus, and Nick Rosenkranz.

Here is the testimony: TestimonyTurley.Faithful.House.Final

65 thoughts on “House Judiciary Committee To Hear Testimony On President Obama’s Authority To Suspend Or Change Federal Laws

  1. Professor Turley says,

    “I was equally concerned about the
    overall expansion of unchecked presidential authority and the relative decline of legislative power in the modern American system. The recent nonenforcement policies add a particularly menacing element to this pattern. They effectively reduce the legislative process to a series of options for presidential selection ranging from negation to full enforcement. The Framers warned us of such a system and we accept it – either by
    acclaim or acquiescence – at our peril.”

    And so it continues….

    Democracy fails, slowly We turned, step by step, inch by inch, We have allowed the 3 branches of government to become the 3 stooges of the Plutocracy.

  2. I too have concerns regarding presidential power to modify implementation of a law.

    I just find GOP concern a bit puzzling, considering the seeming support of the GOP for Bush’s broad claims of presidential discretion and authority to modify the implementation of law by way of signing statements.

    So what’s up? Is GOP presidential discretion more constitutional than Democrat presidential Discretion?

  3. If any President does not think a congressional bill is proper he should veto it rather than signing it into law.

    If any President thinks a bill signed into law by a previous President is unconstitutional he should suggest to the DOJ that they challenge it in court.

    Unilaterally disobeying a constitutionally valid law is unsound.

  4. One of the Obama policies that the republicans on the Judiciary Committee are complaining about is the one that stops the deportation of children while at the same time they sit on the immigration bill.

  5. Dredd,

    I’m in agreement with your statement…..


    Good luck…. Hope you hold it together….. Your the favorite……

  6. Thank you Professor.
    I don’t care how hypocritical the DemoRepo or ReopoDemos are. The usurpation of power by our Presidents for the past 50 years is now out of control.

    I don’t care if a Demo gets a backbone or a Repo get a backbone. As long as someone stands up and says enough. The next big trick is to get the major news media to take notice and start reporting.

  7. Paul, that is correct. It could not have gotten this out of control w/o the participation of both parties. So yes, they are both hypocritical.

    Each group has allowed itself powers whose use it then decries when exercised by the “other” party. At least, that is what happens within the ordinary members of the party, along with lower order apparatchicks.

    However, clearly, at the highest levels, party does not matter. This is oligarchy. Not only in the US either, but world wide. Paid supporters of the oligarchy have been successful in propagandizing ordinary people, who still believe it is fine when “their” party does it.

    I feel we must somehow reach the base of these parties to show that we all have to have real principles, not party based, which we apply to every governing official. If the president does it and we like him, it is still not legal. We need to stop liking people so much that no matter what they do, torture, murder, mass surveillance, we are willing to stand up as citizens and say: “STOP”.

  8. I hope you are fair with your assessment, JT. I just have this odd feeling that when Obama administration says that the justice dept will stop pursuing and punishing marijuana users in states that have legalized its possession, that’s a bad decision. But I thought the GOP was for state’s rights? How about when Obama administration says the military will enforce gay rights for couples, that’s wrong? He should just let GOP run states continue to discriminate as Oklahoma is now doing?

    I am against unfettered executive powers, but when Congress is unable to act and action is needed, where is that action initiated? The GOP was a fighter for executive powers during Reagan and the Bush boys and now they hate what they created. It’s the constant hypocrisy of both parties, but especially the GOP that makes this another carnival act more than a act of Constitutional protection. The GOP has damaged the Constitution by declaring war where none was granted, by allowing torture of ‘enemy combatants,’ by allowing illegal warrantless wiretaps. Where were the GOP clowns when those transgressions were committed? They were saying “Go George, go!” Dems may be spineless weasels, but GOP are hypocritical lying thugs. Thanks for listening….

  9. Guys like Rep. Marino exude this sanctimony about their concern for the Constitution. He whines (perhaps wines) about his sacrifice of his lucrative law practice to work for the people and the Constitution. Yet his rant was drivel.

  10. Darrel Issa brought up, Fast &Furious, ACA, and the IRS. I’m surprised he didn’t work Benghazi into his pontificating. The partisanship is leaking out of my TV and stinking up my floor. I think Fox news and Limbaugh supplied 90% of the “facts” the Repubs used. …. OOPs Marino of PA. (R) just mentioned Benghazi !! LOL

  11. As much as I despise both political parties and the greedy tools who make up their ranks in congress, you have to hand it to the GOP when they’re in control they do whatever the he’ll they want, the people’s wishes be damned. The current Congress is what allowing anarchists into politics looks like although I don’t want to sully the reputations of anarchists I know by using that term to represent the lizard – brained thieves in Washington.

  12. Wow … if this hearing had taken place in 2002, or 2003, or 2004, or 2005 then perhaps, perhaps we stood a chance.

    Of course in order to hold such a hearing during that period and stop the abuses to our civil liberties
    one had to get past the “War on Terror” rhetoric that produced all the verbal charges of traitor.

    When I look back at the initial policies of the beginning of George Bush’s time in office, I see a relatively centrist presidency in the works though there were firm indicators that he had a problem with the First Amendment (attempts at banning flag desecration and the establishment of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which awarded billions in federal funds to religious charities). It is thus not at all surprising that federal law enforcement civil liberties abuses after 9/11 abounded.

    By the end of his presidency, President Bush had issued 161 signing statements affecting over 1,100 provisions of federal law which was more than all former presidents combined. This firmly launched the “unitary executive.” In a practical sense these signing statements acted as direction from the White House to federal officials and agencies to disregard laws passed by Congress.

    On the other hand, President Obama has issued 22 signing statements affecting 87 specified provisions and making six mentions of unspecified provisions of law in 21 Congressional enactments.

    “…take care that the laws be faithfully executed”

    So now we have a hearing and oversight? Too little, too late but just in time for the ’14 and ’16 election cycle to meet the rebranding needs of the Republican product.

    The barn door came off its hinges in 2002, stop trying to pretend otherwise.

  13. The strongest voice of partisanship was the (mostly) absent voice of the Dems.

    To re- requote Professor Turley,

    “The Framers warned us of such a system and we accept it – either by
    acclaim or acquiescence – at our peril.”

    I am curious as to the number of Dems v Repubs that asked questions.
    If someone has a link to a site that has these figures would you please post it. I have much space on my computer yet to be filled. … I even have some empty space between my ears. :)

  14. Blouise,

    Notice Professor Turley did not get hung up on My Team is Better Then Their Team/ Divide & Conquer scam, instead he stayed focused on what is the authority granted under the USC in which legislature, executive, and judiciary operate under.

    I wasn’t able to catch all of the hearing yet, but I didn’t hear anyone address the inalienable Rights of the Citizens & the ultimate Authority under which they are required to act. Of course other then the current scam called Electronic Voting/Registration Rigging.

    A few issues I believe the citizens should consider their positions and what action on their part are called for are:

    Public Law 105-85

    Patriot Act,


    PD51 (sic)

    John Warner Defence Appropriations Act.


    ie: Some of those issues are not only still International War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity, but are also blatant/intentional violations of the USC, Inalienable Rights,etc…

    Just a couple of examples are GMO crops, Nuclear Power Plants (leaking), vaccines.

    On a side note, if nothing else comes of this hearing perhaps Professor Turley allowed those that attended an excellent opportunity to test their flu vaccine’s effectiveness. lol

  15. Why doesn’t Boehner bring the immigration bill up for a vote? A lot of the controversy these republicans are bringing up about Obama’s refusal to go along with the laws on the books with regards to the deportation of children could be eliminated by passing immigration reform. How many votes did they have on Obamacare?

  16. SwM,

    Michelle Bachmann is just a Karl Rove Neo-Con which had no where to go after GW Nazi Bush so they started pretending to have been something of a Ron Paul want a be & now she almost out the door. Good, take the rest of the Nazi with her!

  17. SwM,

    President Bush was pretty centralist on the immigration issue but I do believe they, the Republicans, are saving it for Jeb’s run in ’16.

    Gotta remember George W. Bush won in 2004 with 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, something no republican other than Jeb can match. Boehner isn’t going to steal Jeb’s thunder by taking his issue off the table and reforming immigration before Jeb gets to use it to win Hispanic votes and, hopefully, the White House.

    If it’s Hillary in ’16 then the battle will be a royal one … in all kinds of ways. You and I will have a ball poking all the angry white men with a stick.

  18. If one substitutes the word Constitution, for the word Boomerang, then the song from Australia has some bearing here.
    Myyyy Boomerang wont come back!
    My Boomerang wont come back.
    I’m the biggest disgrace to the aborigine race..
    My Boomerang wont come back.

    I can….
    Ride a Kangarooo.
    Yeah man.

  19. None of Juan Cole’s excellent points were addressed by the House Judiciary Committee today…… just more obamacare,Benghazi, etc.

  20. The New Hampshire Constitution recognizes the citizen’s duty to act when the general government runs amok:

    [Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

    June 2, 1784

  21. Cannon also addressed the Judiciary Committee today:

    12/03/2013 @ 9:00AM

    Congressional Testimony: The President’s Failure To Execute Faithfully The PPACA

    by Michael F. Cannon


    The concerns I share with you today are not borne of partisanship. Though I have worked for Republicans, I am not a Republican, for reasons that Democrats on this committee can readily appreciate. I am acutely aware of the last Republican president’s failures to execute the laws faithfully. In 2008, though I did not support him, I preferred the Democratic presidential candidate to the Republican candidate in part because he promised to curb such abuses by the executive. I have praised President Obama for doing more than even many libertarians to celebrate the gains in equality and freedom our nation has secured for women, for African-Americans, for gays, and for lesbians.

    This president’s failure – or any president’s failure – to honor his constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully is not a partisan issue. The fact that presidents from both parties violate this duty is cause not for solace. It is cause for even greater alarm, because it guarantees that presidents from both parties will replicate and even surpass the abuses of their predecessors as payback for past injustices. The result is that democracy and freedom will suffer no matter who occupies the Oval Office.

  22. Every once in a while a dictator puts plans in action that many people agree with. The trains run on time! YEAH!!! Isn’t it great having a dictator?

    When a dictator does something you do not like, what is your complaint? What is your remedy? After all, there are going to be many people who like the very action you don’t like. If having a group of people liking the dictator’s action “legal” to these people, then what happens in a society as a whole? It falls a part.

    Here is an example that would go against the liking of many people who support Obama’s dictatorship.

    Many people are antiabortion. If the dictator makes abortion illegal, you cannot complain. The dictator performed actions you approved of, now he is performing actions you disapprove of. That is one of the main problems with having a dictator instead of the rule of law. Eventually something you don’t like will be done by the dictator and there will be no legal recourse to change or challenge those actions. That is because you haven given consent to the abolition of the rule of law.

    I have little idea why people give consent to this for a momentary gain which can be taken away by the dictator at any time. There is something very debased about citizens accepting a dictatorship for any reason, let alone a fleeting proposition. We really need to think through what we are doing as a society to our own nation and other nations.

  23. Robert says: “The New Hampshire Constitution recognizes the citizen’s duty to act when the general government runs amok:

    [Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.]…..”

    The Clamsehll Alliance was founded by anti-nuke activists objecting to the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station. There were many demonstrations and arrests. Activist Guy Chichester, a founder of the Clamshell Alliance, eventually sawed down a Seabrook Station emergency warning siren pole, resulting in charges of “criminal mischief”, a Class B felony. Although there was no doubt that he had cut down the pole, Chichester was acquitted. Chichester’s lawyer Patrick Fleming argued that according to article 10 of the N.H. state constitution, any citizen has a right to act to protect his or herself when the state fails to do so, which is known as the “Right of Revolution:”

  24. Too long testimony, however it is an eye-opener to everyone. I’m afraid someday we just don’t know we are already manipulated. I voted him once, I’d never imagined he would be turn everything as this.

  25. Well Good Luck Truley. It is just a matter of time really, until the powers that be pay some maggot to tell you to “love it or leave it”.

    Than again, perhaps it’s just show biz on your end anyway. Rush Limbaugh gets paid for his opinion and so perhaps Jonthan Truley does too? So thank you Brian Lamb for that 24 hour soap opera know of as C-Span. What rhe *ucking hell would we Americans ever do without that daily way-over dramatized impromptu meaningless BS?

  26. The Christian Science Monitor:

    “Obama ‘crossed the constitutional line,’ House panel is told”

    “Two constitutional law professors told the House Judiciary Committee that President Obama exceeded his authority with unilateral actions on immigration and Obamacare enforcement.”

    “The focus of the hearing was the constitutional requirement that the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

    “I believe the president has exceeded his brief,” George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley testified.

    “The president is required to faithfully execute the laws. He’s not required to enforce all laws equally or commit the same resources to them,” he said. “But I believe the president has crossed the constitutional line.””

    “Professor Turley…warned that the structure of the US government was morphing into something the Founding Fathers would not recognize. “I really have great trepidation over where we are heading because we are creating a new system here,” he said.

    The constitution does not permit the president to wield expansive powers at the expense of Congress, he said. Turley noted that the president’s expansive exertion of power was coming with the rapid growth of a fourth branch of government comprised of federal agencies that are writing their own regulations.

    “We have this rising fourth branch in a system that’s tripartite,” he said. “The center of gravity is shifting, and that makes it unstable. And within that system you have the rise of an uber-presidency.”

    Turley continued: “There could be no greater danger for individual liberty, and I really think that the framers would be horrified by that shift because everything they’ve dedicated themselves to was creating this orbital balance, and we’ve lost it.””

  27. So Professor Turley… Have you been on some REAL HEAVY medication? Have you recently taken a reality-modifying cocktail of high-powered hallucinogens ? Have you had a lapse in your perception of what planet you actually live on ??

    Your testimony today in the chamber of Klowns was a REMARKABLE display of the type of rabid-dog, republican environment Dick Cheeney’s whole life has been spent trying to create. I was absolutely speechless.

    Even the 2nd worst newspaper ON EARTH now reports that YOU support impeachment of the President and have an affinity toward viewing the President as having assumed a role as a ‘King’. Check the WaPo.. It’s in black and white….


  28. Blouise
    1, December 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm
    Wow … if this hearing had taken place in 2002, or 2003, or 2004, or 2005 then perhaps, perhaps we stood a chance.

    Ah, the days of, “(noun) (verb) 9/11″…
    … Boy how they have become, “(noun) (verb) terrorism.”

  29. ** Winski 1, December 4, 2013 at 2:36 am **

    How much is Wallst lunatic Bank/Insurance scum paying Trolls now days anyway?

    How many are working out of Tampa, do you know?

    LOL, never ending Astroturf.


  30. an unexpected move late Monday just before the qualifying deadline, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) jumped into the Republican primary against Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), setting up what will be one of the most-watched tea party v. GOP establishment clashes of the 2014 cycle.

    Stockman, one of the more outspoken conservative members of the House of Representatives — he once threatened impeachment of President Obama over using an executive order to try and reduce gun violence — announced his candidacy for Cornyn’s seat on Monday in an interview with

    “We are extremely disappointed in the way he treated his fellow congressmen and broke the 11th commandment and undermined (Sen.) Ted Cruz’s fight to stop Obamacare,” Stockman told

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