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Your Weekend Must Read: AG Bill Barr on the Executive branch

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Quite a few blogs are linking to AG William Barr’s recent speechat the Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture at the Federalist Society, and with good reason.  It is excellent for his insights into the present political landscape, and also in tracing the provisions in our founding documents as influenced by earlier European history. A short extract:

I wanted to choose a topic for this afternoon’s lecture that had an originalist angle. It will likely come as little surprise to this group that I have chosen to speak about the Constitution’s approach to executive power.


I deeply admire the American Presidency as a political and constitutional institution. I believe it is, one of the great, and remarkable innovations in our Constitution, and has been one of the most successful features of the Constitution in protecting the liberties of the American people. More than any other branch, it has fulfilled the expectations of the Framers.


Unfortunately, over the past several decades, we have seen steady encroachment on Presidential authority by the other branches of government. This process I think has substantially weakened the functioning of the Executive Branch, to the detriment of the Nation. This evening, I would like to expand a bit on these themes.

. . .

Let me turn now to what I believe has been the prime source of the erosion of separation-of-power principles generally, and Executive Branch authority specifically. I am speaking of the Judicial Branch.


In recent years the Judiciary has been steadily encroaching on Executive responsibilities in a way that has substantially undercut the functioning of the Presidency. The Courts have done this in essentially two ways: First, the Judiciary has appointed itself the ultimate arbiter of separation of powers disputes between Congress and Executive, thus preempting the political process, which the Framers conceived as the primary check on interbranch rivalry. Second, the Judiciary has usurped Presidential authority for itself, either (a) by, under the rubric of “review,” substituting its judgment for the Executive’s in areas committed to the President’s discretion, or (b) by assuming direct control over realms of decision-making that heretofore have been considered at the core of Presidential power.


Read the full speech here. I hope Mr. Barr’s words are followed soon by indictments.

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Source: http://clevelandteapartypatriots.blogspot.com/2019/11/your-weekend-must-read-ag-bill-barr-on.html



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