The Anti-Federalists ought to be the nation’s heroes and not its anti-heroes. Libertarians who are with the Anti-Federalists, and who believe the Constitution is a dead letter (check)—and was doomed to so become (check, again)—will find Jonathan Turley’s testimony, Tuesday, as to the danger our “tripartite system of equal branches” finds itself, endearingly naive.
Still, Turley’s testimony before the Committee on the Judiciary is important (and certainly elegantly written). The Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University is perhaps the only honest constitutional scholar on the left that I can think of, since the death of the great Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).
Turley spoke about the chief executive’s “circumvention of Congress,” about Obama having “crossed the constitutional line between discretionary enforcement and defiance of federal legislation,” of his “use of executive orders to circumvent federal legislation”; of the increasing “shift toward the concentration of executive power” and the consolidation of the “imperial presidency.”
Obama, contends Turley, has “reduced the legislative process to a series of options for presidential selection.” By “claiming the inherent power of both legislation and enforcement, he risks becoming “a virtual government unto himself”; “the very danger that the Constitution was designed to avoid.”
“The Framers were clear that they saw such concentration of power to be a danger to liberty.”
Well, some—the Anti-Federalists—proved that the Framers were either wrong in the direction they took the country, or wrote a very vague document indeed.