HOME > NEWSROOM > ARTICLES > House Judiciary Committee Examines Executive Branch Power

House Judiciary Committee Examines Executive Branch Power

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday held a hearing titled, “The President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws.” At the center of attention was debate over the concern that the Executive Branch has grown in power beyond constitutional bounds. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) made his thoughts plain:

Our system of government is a tripartite one, with each branch having certain defined functions delegated to it by the Constitution. The President is charged with executing the laws; the Congress with writing the laws; and the Judiciary with interpreting them. The Obama Administration, however, has ignored the Constitution’s carefully balanced separation of powers and unilaterally granted itself the extra-constitutional authority to amend the laws and to waive or suspend their enforcement.

Chairman Goodlatte added, “In place of the checks and balances established by the Constitution…. President Obama circumvents Congress when he doesn’t get his way.”

The top Democrat on the Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), did not think the President was overstepping and noted, “Unfortunately, it appears that some here view policy disagreements as constitutional crises and proof of possible wrongdoing.”

One of the witnesses at the hearing, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, believed that the President “has crossed the constitutional line between discretionary enforcement and defiance of federal law.” He further warned:

This is more than a turf fight between politicians. The division of governmental powers is
designed to protect liberty by preventing the abusive concentration of power. All citizens –
Democratic or Republican or Independent – should consider the inherent danger presented by a
President who can unilaterally suspend laws as a matter of presidential license… The current  claims of executive power will outlast this president and members must consider the implications
of the precedent that they are now creating through inaction and silence.

Professor Turley also highlighted the rise of a “Fourth Branch” of government – regulatory bureaucracies. He stated, “Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of the sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency.”

• Watch this full hearing and read witness testimony here.
• Find additional press coverage here and here.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: December 6, 2013

Latest News

60,000 Shoebox Gifts Airlifted to Children Displaced by ISIS Militants in Northern Iraq

Samaritan’s Purse recently airlifted 60,000 Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts to Northern Iraq, where displaced Iraqi kids have been stripped of their homes and most possessions.

Aaron Shust Partners with Radio Outlets for Holiday Promotions That Help People in Need

Dove-Award winning Aaron Shust is teaming with radio outlets across the country to help make Christmas a little more merry to those in need.

Christian Radio to Give Free College Tuition to Full Time Staff

Positive Alternative Radio (PAR) is providing its employees innovative new benefits that include access to higher education, time off for community service, and financial counseling.

CTVN Announces New Roku Channel

Cornerstone Network (CTVN) is now available on Roku TV and able to stream programming to viewers live and on demand.

Christmas Reflections in Washington

While end-of-year debates on government appropriations, military policy, tax provisions, judicial nominations, and other issues continue their rough road to resolution in this lame-duck session of Congress, Christmas is in the air in the nation’s capital.

FCC Rules Against Church on Closed Captioning

The FCC recently denied a church’s request for a waiver from closed captioning rules, shedding more light on the agency’s approach to determining what may truly be an “economically burdensome” situation.

Senator Promises a Bill Broader than ENDA

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced this week that he intends to introduce legislation next year that will roll the controversial Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) into a broader...

White Paper Issued on Video Policy

Key leaders in the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week released a white paper on video policy as they continue their path toward a review and revamp the Communications Act.

NRB15 Worship Service on Wednesday, February 25, 2015; Open to the Public

The NRB Convention in 2015 will be a Monday-to-Thursday event rather than a Saturday-to-Tuesday event as in years before, but convention participants will still have an opportunity to worship together during the Wednesday evening worship service on February 25, 2015.

NRB to Host Regional Networking Event for Christian Film Pros, Jan. 10

Christian film professionals in the Baltimore, DC, and Richmond region are invited to attend a networking event next month at the NRB headquarters in Manassas, VA.

More News