Jonathan Turley: America Becoming 'Imperial Presidency'

Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014 07:22 AM

By Greg Richter

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Americans are in danger of losing their liberties as the country shifts to an "imperial presidency," with power concentrated in the executive branch, constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley said on Fox News.

Turley, who teaches at George Washington University, agrees with much of President Barack Obama's political positions, but fears Obama is moving the United States toward a system in which the president's power is unchecked by Congress and the courts.

Turley said Obama's failure to inform Congress he was releasing five Taliban prisoners from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay over the weekend is the latest example of his ignoring the law.

"This has become something of a mantra from this administration that the president has decided he will not comply with federal law," Turley said Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity."

"What's emerging is an imperial presidency, an über-presidency as I've called it, where the president can act unilaterally," Turley said. Turley was among several witnesses testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in February, in which he warned of a constitutional crisis if Congress fails to maintain its power.

America's system of government has been stable because there are limited and shared powers, Turley said. But if one branch emerges dominant, the system will begin to shut down.

The separation of powers is not about the branches themselves, he told host Sean Hannity, but about protecting individual liberties.

"It's there to protect us against the concentration of power," he said.

"Barack Obama's really the president Richard Nixon always wanted to be," Turley said. "He's been allowed to act unilaterally in a way that we fought for so many decades."

Unfortunately, he said, America's system is changing.

"And it's changing without a debate, or even a discussion."

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