As many of you know, one of my chief focuses as an academic is the separation of powers and that I hold a robust view of legislative authority under Article I. Indeed, I view the erosion of legislative authority in the United States to be one of the most dangerous trends in our country. That is why I noticed a story out of New Zealand where the Prime Minister John Key was actually tossed out of Parliament for not adhering to the rules of the body. It was an incredible moment at a time where executive powers are being consolidated around the world. For those who still believe in equal legislative power in a tripartite system, it was a rare contemporary assertion of independent authority.
The incident occurred when the prime minister was answering a question on why he refused to apologise to charities Greenpeace, the Red Cross, and Amnesty after linking them to the Panama Papers. Speaker David Carter called for order and told Key to “resume his seat”. Key refused and continued to argued. He was then tossed out after being warned to adhere to the rules of the body.
The charities named had been the victim of an earlier scam where fraudsters used their names as a front to hide their money in foreign trusts.
Now that is a legislative body which know not just where the Prime Minister must sit but were it stands.