Turley To Speak As Keynote At Cato Conference

cato-logoI have the pleasure today of speaking at the keynote before the CATO conference in Naples Florida being held a the Ritz-Carlton.  Apropos of the current debate over the Trump executive order on refugees, the speech will address the scope of, and limits on, executive power.  The speech will start at 11 a.m.

The Legislative Branch has lost the most with the rise of a type of über-presidency. We are seeing the emergence of a different model of government in our country – a model long ago rejected by the Framers. The rise of a dominant presidency has occurred with relatively little congressional opposition. Indeed, when President Obama pledged to circumvent Congress, he received rapturous applause from the very body that he was promising to make practically irrelevant.

The courts have played the most significant role in the transcendent rise of the American presidency by barring lawsuits and avoiding rulings in separation disputes. Indeed, I believe much of the dysfunctional politics criticized today is the result of the failure of courts to perform their most critical function in minding the lines of separation. The void left by the courts has left the two parties with raw muscle tactics. As prior presidents have slowly bled away legislative authority, the courts have stubbornly insisted that the executive and legislative branches would have to work things out. It is akin to a group of the best doctors in the world standing around and screaming at an anemic patient to “heal yourself.” In the meantime, much of the actual governance during this period has shifted away from political representatives and toward executive branch officials. We have seen the rise of a type of “fourth branch” of federal agencies with increasing power and independence over the governance in this country.  If this body is to remain truly relevant into the next century, it will have to fight for the constitutional territory lost over years of erosion.


37 thoughts on “Turley To Speak As Keynote At Cato Conference”

  1. This headline is JT’s legacy though. Silent in the face of true turmoil, instead lodging at a Ritz-Carlton….

    Res ipsa loquitur

  2. A public interest law professor at the Ritz-Carlton speaking to a group of those in-the-club at a conference of an Institute founded by Charles Koch.

    Jonathan Turley is not interested in our civil liberties in the slightest… only as to its relation in individual gain because this alleged zest for civil liberties has caught on as a part of his brand. Civil liberties are not defended at a ritz-carlton…. people who lodge there (JT a likely patron) have little to worry about.

    Enjoy the ritz though, all that concern for the public interest may cloud the splendid luxuries surrounding you.

    1. I thought you didn’t trust the MSM.

      Oh, right, it’s the New York Post. One step above the Georgetown Enquirer.

      Again, you claim to know my positions as you regurgitate.

      Such a clever girl reporter.

  3. So in your opinion Steve the wealthy control the country? You’ve identified only a problem, what’s your solution? Eliminate wealth? What does that wealth control, the levers of government? Is that a wealth problem or is that a government problem? If you eliminated wealth, whatever that means, would government begin to function within its designed limits? Of course not. There were wealthy people at the time of this countries founding, what did that 18th century generation know that we don’t? They knew where their rights came from. They knew what liberty and freedom felt like thanks to about 100 years of salutary neglect. They knew what the purpose for government was. They knew they needed some form of government and they knew if they didn’t limit what that government could do that they would be replacing one tyrant for another. They knew all of these things and now…

    1. Constitutional amendments overruling Citizens United and the Electoral College in favor of one person/one vote, federal control of federal elections including the party nomination process; campaign-finance reform; ceilings on supporter spending, and equal access to debates.

      Then, maintain progressive taxation, prohibit public trading of stock, require stock be held only by employees each of whom would have an equal vote based on the number of years of seniority in deciding which of them will manage the company, and hold all corporations to a fiduciary duty of loyalty to the community to the same extent as the corporation.

      I could go on, but that’s a start.

      Yes, I’m anti-capitalist in its present form. There’s too much greed when fifty percent of the population in this country lives at or below the poverty level, and the other half shows its collective nostrils to them.

      So, there ya go.

  4. Olly,

    “These are worldview questions and in my opinion the citizens of this country have a worldview problem. As a group, we don’t know the history of human civilization. We don’t know the history of western civilization. We don’t know the history that led to the formation of this country. We don’t agree on our rights as human beings or citizens and we certainly do not agree on our responsibilities.”

    You’re right; Squeeky proves this everyday.

        1. Human nature being what it is, I’m not surprised by any of the comments on this blog. I just happen to enjoy Squeeky’s nature. 🙂

          1. Maybe you should read her comments and compare them to your statement of:

            “These are worldview questions and in my opinion the citizens of this country have a worldview problem. As a group, we don’t know the history of human civilization. We don’t know the history of western civilization. We don’t know the history that led to the formation of this country. We don’t agree on our rights as human beings or citizens and we certainly do not agree on our responsibilities.”

            Do you see any correlation?

            1. Are you kidding??? Who the heck else here posts excerpts from Hammurabi’s Code??? And as far as a world view, I don’t think yours extends to Europe, and the impact of the Muslim Invasion on them. Plus, who else posts Irish Poems (which originated in France!) and other original poetry??? Who else has ever posted anything from Friedrich Schiller here, or can sing The Ode To Joy in German???

              So no, I don’t think I am ignorant of history, or art. I just disagree with your various revisions and misinterpretations of it. Which is what really gets your goat.

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

              1. “I just disagree with your various revisions and misinterpretations of it.”

                What revisions or misinterpretations have I presented?

                None, to be exact, but you insist that you know what I think with the above comment, whereas, I do know what you think with your many comments.

                The dichotomy of Olly’s lament and your history of posts were too good to pass up given I only read and post for entertainment. Much like you, Squeek, as it’s obvious you love adulation.

                1. When I want adulation, I just go to a bar on a Friday or Saturday night. I usually get free drinks just to be adulated!

                  Plus, Silly Rabbit, if you disagree with me, and think I am stupid, then you do reveal what, and how, you think. My goodness, is that too hard for you to have figured out? Here, let me help you. If I am against illegal immigration, and you think I am stupid and heartless and racist, then that tells me that odds are, you are for illegal immigration, and think it anti-Hispanic to be against it. You see, knowing what something is not, can help you decide what it is. I think that is math or something. Maybe logic.

                  Squeeky Fromm
                  Girl Reporter

                  1. I just thought Olly’s lament juxtaposed against your comments were worth pointing out.

                    Thanks for providing evidence for Olly’s concerns.

  5. As long as the citizens of this country cannot agree on what our government’s constitutional purpose is then how do we define what “improvement” actually looks like? For instance, what has changed over the last 241 years that makes the DoI self-evident truths obsolete? Has human nature changed? Are we not to strive for equal treatment under the law? Do we have rights that no man can give us or take away? Do we have rights that preexist any government? Why was our government established?

    These are worldview questions and in my opinion the citizens of this country have a worldview problem. As a group, we don’t know the history of human civilization. We don’t know the history of western civilization. We don’t know the history that led to the formation of this country. We don’t agree on our rights as human beings or citizens and we certainly do not agree on our responsibilities. If we cannot agree on the most basic fundamental principles used to form our constitutional republic, then is it any wonder why we have this massive, bureaucratic, “bolt-on” form of government?

    1. The massive, bureaucratic, “bolt-on” form of government is to protect the wealthy from the horde. The wealthy encourage us to throw around the term “treason” and “traitor” as if those terms weren’t the definition of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and as if Snowden and Manning are not patriots performing the same acts as the signers.

      As long as the wealthy control the country, nothing will change, including our unsustainable standard of living, and the Constitution will mean what they want it to mean.

  6. Congratulations on your speech, Professor Turley. I look forward to reading it.

    This brings to mind one of my reasons for wanting an Originalist on the Court. The Left tends to favor Justices who view the Constitution as a Living Document. That essentially gives 9 (or 8) black robed figures the power to legislate from the bench, without a single vote or interference from Congress.

    That may sound all well and good…when there are Liberals on the bench. But what if a Republican wins the White House, and he appoints conservatives who also view the Constitution as a Living Document, although this time they can bend it to take on any of their conservative viewpoints. Then you would have conservatives legislating from the bench.

    I wonder if the Left would take issue with this Constitutional approach then?

    An Originalist Court protects us from being ruled by an Oligarchy that could change from one extreme to another.

  7. A pure democracy would cause the masses to take away the wealth of the rich. A geographically defined representative democracy tells people that they are represented by the wealthy, when the wealthy are only protecting themselves. If we are to have a functional representative democracy, the representatives need to specify which group of people they are representing, not by geography, but by criteria defining the full array of public conditions -prison populations, the disabled, children, gay folks, minorities, women, men, immigrants, the aged, the chronically ill. The system we currently have seems to only represent those who enjoy and profit from war and obscene wealth.

  8. I think Trump will reverse the power of the President. He has to undo all the stuff first but I anticipate him breaking the tools after. Trump is against Big Government. That is why he is for weakening the Bureaucratic agencies by which Presidents have been using to impose their will on the nation.

    “I won’t refuse it. I’m going to do a lot of things,” Trump said when asked if he would use executive orders in an interview Sunday on NBC”s “Meet the Press.”

    “I mean, he’s led the way, to be honest with you,” he added, referring to Obama.

  9. And the future role of the EEOC in the transgender debate would then be ???

  10. As someone who ran her own Think Tank for years, be prepared for difficult questions. Because, when you run a Think Tank, you spend a whole lot of time thinking. Trust me on this.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl reporter

    1. Never trust anyone who says, “Trust me”. They say that as a result of a long history of people not trusting them, for good reason.

  11. We have an almost inborn sense that our three branches of government should be co-equal. One problem with our notions is to model our government on a tree with branches. Perhaps a better model would be a tripod which holds up a statue.
    With the failures of the Legislative leg of government in recent years I see a need for a more assertive Executive leg of government.
    Was Obama assertive enough? No.
    Will Trump be too assertive? Yes.
    Can the Legislative arm get its muscle back? No. Why? Bad leaders. The Dems have some dork with his glasses sliding down off his nose (Schumer). The Repubs have Ryan. Or Mitch.

    There was a commenter on this blog a year or so ago who talked about The 1933 Parallels. He said that the Twin Towers event on 9/11 was similar to the burning down of the German Parliament which is called the Reichstag. The Twin Towers gave us The Patriot Act. The Germans passed The Reichstag Fire Decree which did away with civil rights in Germany. Hitler was elected. Von Hindenburg went away. We now have Trump. Different strokes for different folks but I see a strong leader here in Trump and he may go too far on some things. I do not think that the Legislative arm can curb him. Both parties will revamp themselves. The Dems may go to hell in a handbasket. They don’t have a leader. Bernie ain’t it.

    1. For starters, we don’t have three co-equal branches of government. People say it, but it isn’t true.

      The Legislative branch has the power to remove(fire) a President and impeach (fire) any member of the Federal judiciary. The ones who have the power to fire the other ones is the boss. The boss ain’t equal to the employees.

      The people can fire the Congress, but only at election time.

      Our system of government tries to diffuse the power out through the 3 branches where the Legislatures power is not absolute, such as with Presidential vetos, where it takes 2/3 of the body to override it. The hope being the people have not chosen complete imbeciles and/or cads for their legislature, or their President. There is some degree of checks and balances, but the Legislature can rule it all (for at least 2 years) if they so desire, and if they have a big majority of one party.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

    2. Jack-
      The Republicans don’t have a leader either. What’s more, they are burdened with having to control a malignant narcissist.

  12. While I agree with the rise of the executive – I think it’s relevant to remember Sen. Robert Byrd waving his Constitution and railing about the Congress giving away it’s ‘power’ during the Bush wars. It was a way of passing the buck – not taking the responsibility that was Constitutionally mandated about declaring war. They were cowards. They easy fell into this non-action. It’s much the same as R’s always falling back on state’s rights = it’s not our problem, nor are we willing to take responsibility. I don’t think Pres. Obama wanted this ‘power’ – but someone had to be the grown-up. Now the executive office is blamed? The Congress took the easy way out and now we have Trump. So, yes – let them “heal themselves”.

    1. The challenge of political office is the election campaign, wearing the right clothes, having the right haircut, the right sound bytes, the right personality, the right family, getting to the right campaign events. Once elected, a politician doesn’t have to do anything other than hire staff and vote as directed by his largest campaign donors. The current system is off the deep end in dysfunction.

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