Friday, December 6, 2019

Turley's Position Congress Must Work Through Courts to Enforce Subpoenas Not Supported by Fox News Legal Experts, His Own Previous Testimony

Prof. Jonathan Turley
Earlier this week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing with four constitutional law experts to discuss impeachment.  Three of the law professors, who were called as witnesses by the Democrats, said the bar for impeachment had been met.  The fourth one, Prof. Jonathan Turley, who teaches at the George Washington University Law School, disagreed.  Prof. Turley, the Republican's witness, said the Democrats had not yet compiled the evidence to make the case.  Of course, much of that is due to the fact President Trump has ordered employees of the executive branch to ignore all congressional subpoenas in the impeachment probe, i.e. to not testify or turn over any documents.

Turley argued that Trump's ordering executive employees to not comply with subpoenas  is not obstruction of justice.  The professor instead said that Congress must work through the courts to enforce its subpoenas and, until it does that and the President doesn't comply after the final appellate court rules on the issue, there is no obstruction of Congress  Of course, Congress being forced to litigate all the way to the United States Supreme Court every time it wants to enforce a congressional subpoena allows President Trump to run out the clock on impeachment.

Prof. Turley's position as to impeachment is so completely unfathomable, so bizarre even Fox News legal analysts disagreed with it.  Newsweek reports: 
[Judge Andrew} Napolitano said that the House has power of impeachment which supersedes the president's executive privilege. While mentioning the Supreme Court's ruling that the president has a limited executive privilege when documents are requested from the judicial branch, Napolitano pointed out that was not the source of the request. 
He added that the president's executive privilege only extends to matters of military, diplomatic and national security matters. 
While Napolitano mentioned his friendship with Turley, he said that Turley was "forgetting" that the House has sole—"s-o-l-e"—power of impeachment. 
"It doesn't need to go to a court for approval, it doesn't need to go to court to get its subpoenas enforced." Napolitano continued. "When the president receives a subpoena—or in this case, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo receive a subpoena—and they throw it in a drawer, they don't comply or challenge because the president told them to, that is the act of obstruction." 
He concluded that Turley's argument that the House needs to go to court to have their subpoenas enforced was a "misreading" of the Supreme Court ruling. 
Andy McCarthy, another guest on the panel, agreed with Napolitano's interpretation. 
"We could debate all day about whether a particular obstructive act would qualify as the framers' idea of a high crime and misdemeanor. The fact of the matter is, if it was trivial, or if it was a one-off, or if it was not suggestive of a heinous pattern of conduct, that Congress would not dare try to impeach over it," McCarthy said."I don't think the framers would have thought to that the Article 1 branch needed the assistance of the Article 3 branch to impeach an officer of the Article 2 branch," he added. "I don't think that's conceivable."
It should be added that McCarthy is a former prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, a National Review columnist, and a consistent presence on Fox News defending 99% of the time every position taken by the Trump administration. It would be hard to find a more loyal Trumper than Andrew McCarthy.
But there is someone else who doesn't agree with Professor Turley.  His name is...Professor Turley.  In June of 2016, Turley testified before the U.S. House which was investigating the alleged misconduct of the then IRS Commissioner John Koskinen who was accused of using his office to target conservative groups.  In his written statement, Turley bemoaned the increasing practice of the Obama administration not complying with congressional subpoenas.  Prof. Turley argued that Congress did not have to work through the courts to seek compliance, that Congress, under Article I, had the inherent power to enforce its own subpoenas.  2016 Prof. Turley also said executive branch non-compliance with congressional subpoenas is an obstructive act.  2019 Prof. Turley says that the executive branch has not committed an act of obstruction until it does not comply with court orders enforcing congressional subpoenas.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that anyone at the hearing confronted Prof. Turley about his evolving (devolving?) legal position regarding congressional subpoenas.  Even more unfortunately, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee didn't take the opportunity to call any of the scores of conservative, Republican legal scholars who support their position on impeachment and enforcement of congressional subpoenas.  It was a missed opportunity.

5 comments:

leon dixon said...

You mischaracterize Andrew McCarthy. He is not a solid, down the line, Trumper. Were you better read, you would know that. I have suggested to you, his book, Ball of Collusion. You haven't read it, it is apparent. Neither has your pack of running dogs, who, like you, have been wrong at every turn concerning any matters Trump.

Paul K. Ogden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul K. Ogden said...

Hmmm, before Trump was elected, I thought he was unfit for office, incompetent, ignorant, uneducated about the issues, dishonest, corrupt, was not a conservative, and he would damage the Republican brand so much the Democrats and socialism would have a period of ascendancy for at least a generation until we can recover from the damage Trump is doing to the GOP and the conservative movement. Those fears about Trump have turned out to be 100% true. Trump is without question the worst President in my lifetime, and I lived through Jimmy Carter. November 8, 2016 will be proven to be the day the socialists won.

Anonymous said...

Once the dark cloud of the Socialist Empire descends upon this nation, the Global Elites will ensure it stays in place. We will be a vassal state of Beijing.

How’s your Mandarin?

Bradley said...

Anonymous has his tinfoil toupee on too tight.

This country loves socialism--after all, look what the Trump administration has done with the farmer's bailouts. Or the W. Bush administration did with the start of the bailouts as the Great Recession worsened. Take a look at what Indiana Republicans have done with all the corporate kickbacks they've given to their good-time buddies since they've held the governor's office and the State House. Companies in Indiana do very well getting lucrative contracts with lame oversight here. Check out all the politically-connected contracts and pay for play that went out during the Ballard administration.

Corporate socialism has been at its finest in this state's capital, this state, and this country for a long time and fits under the radar much more, but probably costs taxpayers and citizens more than any social welfare costs.

Please spare us the sensational pearl-clutching about how the boogey-word "socialism" will ruin this country--that tripe has been around since before the New Deal and the Great Society and yet our country still hasn't fallen to any red scourges.