Constitutional separation of powers is at risk. Do we really want a King?

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29991537/don-mcgahn-testify-impeachment-hearings-federal-judge-ruling/

The inimitable Charlie Pierce focuses on the recent decision in Federal Court by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson that the President is not and was never meant to be a King. Charlie does a great job of reporting on this very serious decision and laying the groundwork for understanding the defining issues that are now on their way up the chain to SCOTUS.

34 thoughts on “Constitutional separation of powers is at risk. Do we really want a King?

  1. Judge Jackson’s ruling is meaningless. She ruled that the president’s attorney has to show up for questioning, but not that he is required to provide any answers.

    Constitutional separation of powers is not at risk and we are not in danger of changing the president into a king.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/11/theres-less-to-the-mcgahn-ruling-than-meets-the-eye/?utm_source=recirc-desktop&utm_medium=blog-post&utm_campaign=river&utm_content=more-in&utm_term=first

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    1. Yep, he can sit there for an hour exerting a combination of “Executive Privilege” and “5th Amendment Rights” just like God and the Founders intended, and it can be shown coast-to-coast just like the Founders would have wished.

      The one thing he cannot do is exert “Absolute Kingly Immunity” just as the GOP would wished he could.

      Your party has lost the bubble.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. “… we are not in danger of changing the president into a king.”

      True, because in many respects he already has more powers than the Constitution ever intended. This, despite Barr’s contention that his power is threatened.

      The president can go to war, decide what laws he will enforce, raise taxes, redirect Congressional spending to suit his political whims, demand that Americans who work for the government not testify even after retirement, rewrite immigration laws, etc.

      In the hands of “mere mortals”, these are dangerously loose boundaries. In the hands of Trump, they are considered weapons to bypass or reject a moribund Congress of his own party or sabotage one of the opposition in order to undermine the rule of law.

      The regime has lost almost every court battle at the first two levels. And he will most likely lose this one. But they don’t care because they are just running out the clock. A tactic Trump used as a developer. Using litigation not to arrive at the truth or a decision, but as a stalling tactic. He would sue vendors he owed money to knowing the backlogs in the courts would cripple the smaller suppliers.

      Oh, well at least lawyers are doing well.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Whether I did or not matters not a whit with regards to the expansion of presidential powers over the decades.

          The powers need to be returned to Congress per the Constitution. My concern with the Barr speech was his claim that the president had lost his “imperial” status and needed to regain them. Or, in effect, the plea was to increase the powers of the Executive. In other words, the president needs to be the strongest of the three branches. Not the intention of the founders.

          Judge Jackson has brought to light the erosion of the balance of power. In many cases with Obama, if his executive actions were overruled he left it at that. Not so with Trump. Which, in the long run may be good as it should start a trend of rebalancing the powers.

          Liked by 3 people

    3. @Roberts

      I guess you did not read the article or if you did, you did not understand the import. True, the narrow question is whether Mr. McGaghn can simply ignore a Congressional subpoena and the narrow answer is that no, he may not. If he refuses to answer questions he must have a reason that is defensible in court. If he invokes the Fifth, he can be given process immunity and compelled to answer. If he invokes Executive Privilege he must defend it with law and precedent.

      What you have obviously missed is the broader framing the judge put around her narrow ruling. She is categorically rejecting Trump’s claims of some sort of absolute immunity from Congressional inquiry. His instructions that the Executive Branch ignore virtually all Congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony are what are really at issue. The Judge Jackson has laid out the compelling Constitutional arguments that say – “Hell, no. He cannot do that. He is not a king.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. RE: “She is categorically rejecting Trump’s claims of some sort of absolute immunity from Congressional inquiry.”

        You seem to think so, but it is of no significance. We already knew that the executive is subject to oversight by the legislature. Judge Jackson’s ruling therefore changes nothing and accomplishes nothing.

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        1. “We already know that the executive is subject to oversight by the legislature?”

          Do we? Did Trump not get the message? If he gets to choose which subpoenas can be ignored because they are part of a “witch hunt” or are “not fair” or are “fishing expeditions” etc. then that oversight is non-existent. That is the ENTIRE point. He is not the King and he IS subject to process from the Congress no matter their intent or purpose.

          Judge Jackson has gone to the trouble to lay out compelling Constitutional arguments – confirming what you say that we already know – that higher courts will not be able to refute.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. RE: “So the president is a king. He can do whatever the hell he wants and nobody has the right to make him stop.”

            No. The president is a man. The point is not that the executive is superior to the other branches of our government, but that it is not inferior. The Founders considered making it so, but chose not to.

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          2. The Congress can remove the President. But the President cannot remove the Congress. Case closed. Congress is the first among equals and even more so since ONLY the Congress can spend our money or LEGALLY involve us in wars and treaties.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. RE: “Judge Jackson has gone to the trouble to lay out compelling Constitutional arguments – confirming what you say that we already know…”

          Not really. The president remains under no constitutional obligation to comply with Congressional demands.

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          1. “ Therefore, DOJ’s argument that the House of Representatives, which unquestionably possesses the constitutionally authorized power of inquiry and also the power of impeachment, should not be able to issue subpoenas to executive branch officials because the President cannot do the same to them, simultaneously appreciates traditional separation-of-powers principles and subverts them, and as such, truly makes no sense.”

            You and Judge Jackson seem to disagree.

            Why is there no Constitutional obligation to comply?

            Liked by 2 people

          2. RE: “Why is there no Constitutional obligation to comply?”

            A better question would be, where does the Constitution state explicitly that oversight is a Congressional authority?

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          3. RE: “You and Judge Jackson seem to disagree.”

            And?

            I disagree with the downright unamerican notion that the legislature is superior to the executive.

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          4. Article I- Legislative Branch

            Article II – Executive Branch

            Top line gets oversight over the second. And advise and consent on the third.

            It is as American as the Constitution itself. And the reason the drafters wrote it that way. So you disagree with the Founders who many on your side of the debate seem to know their intent. Gotcha.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. @Roberts

            Do you REALLY not understand that you are stating two sides of the issue?

            1. “We already knew that the executive is subject to oversight by the legislature”
            2. “The president remains under no constitutional obligation to comply with Congressional demands.”

            Those are contradictory positions.

            IF the “executive is SUBJECT TO oversight by the legislature THEN there IS a Constitutional obligation to comply.

            Liked by 2 people

          6. RE: “Those are contradictory positions.”

            Only to a pinhead: Asking questions and getting answers are entirely different things. To assume that one implies the other is illogical on its face.

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          7. “ A better question would be, where does the Constitution state explicitly that oversight is a Congressional authority?”

            Just the power to impeach alone construes oversight of the president.

            Liked by 2 people

          8. RE: “Just the power to impeach alone construes oversight of the president.”

            In other words, oversight is an implied power, not an enumerated one.

            As such, it is an unenforceable power. In your own example, Congress can remove the president from office but can’t compel compliance with an oversight request. If removed, the president need never comply, and the new president can take the same position as the last. That’s what “unenforceable” means in a practical sense.

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          9. “ In other words, oversight is an implied power, not an enumerated one.”

            So it will be up to the courts, which is what the regime is seeking rulings on. If it loses, then we’ll see what happens next.

            This is history in the making.

            Liked by 1 person

          10. “ The courts can’t compel oversight compliance, either.”

            So the president is a king. He can do whatever the hell he wants and nobody has the right to make him stop.

            The king is superior to the other branches. And this was the intent of the founders.

            If that is to your liking, what else can I say.

            But I do think you are wrong.

            Liked by 3 people

          11. RE: “So the president is a king. He can do whatever the hell he wants and nobody has the right to make him stop.”

            No. The president is a man. The point is not that the executive is superior to the other branches of our government, but that it is not inferior. The Founders considered making it so, but chose not to.

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          12. RE: “Caught in an obvious logical contradiction and your response is an insult.”

            If you choose to say illogical things by way of accusing others of being illogical, then you deserve whatever insults you get for the attempt.

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  2. Seeing as how this inquiry is not a legal trial but a political hack job, who cares what this judge thinks. The judicial rules of law do not apply.

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  3. Obviously, the regime cares what the judge thinks or they wouldn’t have filed suit to get a ruling.

    Clinton had six years of a $55 million “hack job” inquiry that started with a pre-election real estate deal and ended with a stained blue dress. By the time the articles of impeachment had been drawn up, Starr’s leaks looked like the friggin’ Titanic.

    Regardless of what you thought about Bill Clinton, he still managed to get work done, get laws passed and ended up with a surplus in the budget on his watch unlike the trillion dollar deficit we have now.

    He did take the whole imbroglio like a man. Not like this wussy, snowflake excuse of a president we have now. “Wa, wa, wa…I am treated so badly”.

    See, now look what you made me do. Oh, well a rant now and then is good for the digestion.

    Speaking of which, I hope you had a decent Thanksgiving. Seriously, no trick questions. Just wishing you well.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. To some degree I said that in jest but since we know that impeachment is not based on law, if did it wouldn’t have gotten this far, it seems logical that legal standards don’t apply. It’s all a knee jerk political show. BTW, public interest is fading very quickly. Sound the dud buzzer. Hope you had a happy thanksgiving as well.

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