GMU Prof. Buckley: High Court Split on Presidential Power

Friday, 27 Jun 2014 03:56 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Supreme Court's decision to sharply curtail President Barack Obama's power to fill top government posts without Senate approval was definitely a "mild" rebuke, said F.H. Buckley, foundation professor at George Mason University School of Law, author and senior editor at American Spectator.

"My interpretation is what we're beginning to see is a split in the Supreme Court between what you might call a presidentialist wing and a congressional wing," Buckley told "America's Forum" host J.D. Hayworth Friday on Newsmax TV. "The presidentialist wing, composed essentially of the liberals on the court, are more likely to uphold presidential power and the more conservative judges are more likely to strike it down."

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While the decision was unanimous, the narrow issue of separation of power was one with a split court on what the president can do about recess appointments, Buckley said.

In general, he continued, the court says away from political issues, meaning the ruling represented a "turf battle" between Congress and the president.

Buckley said that he's written in his book "The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America" that he thinks the nation is looking to the branches of government, rather than the courts, to solve political issues.

"On the commander and chief power…[he has the power] it seems to take the country to war and that's something that would've really horrified the framers [of the constitution] it's not what they wanted," said Buckley.

Meanwhile, he said, presidential power has been growing, and in recent years, the government has been divided, so Obama has been acting on his own "to the cheers of a whole bunch of people, particularly in the mainstream media."

But Buckley pointed out that in his book, he argues the nation is moving to a regime where the "president has the kind of power George III would have envied."

Presidential governments are likely to slip into "one-man rule," a fate that so far has escaped the United States, he said.

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