Thursday, July 17, 2014

Legal expert predicts emergence of American Oliver Cromwell

US House Republicans managed to hold a hearing yesterday, complete with legal experts, about their plan to sue President Obama for abuse of executive power. Among the experts was Professor Jonathan Turley, who went all Stuart in his exposition --

The core abuse was the notion of “royal prerogative,” with the King being able to act unilaterally in his interpretation or suspension of laws. King James I claimed that he was simply applying “natural reason” to the enforcement of laws. He insisted that he had the right and duty to use his own judgment as to the proper course of the government since “law was founded upon reason.” While Kings did not refer to “gridlock,” they denounced Parliament for being obstructionist or unreasonable. King Charles I clashed with the House of Commons for years and even stormed the chamber with troops. He believed in the divine authority of Kings and rejected the most basic notions of shared powers with the Parliament. He was eventually charged with “a high Breach of the Rights and Privileges of Parliament,” including the violation of the “right and power of frequent and successive Parliaments.” These and other conflicts led not only to King Charles I’s execution but also to a strong view of the necessity of the separation of powers in the English, and later the American, systems.

Conservatives seem to be lapping up this stuff, but what should be getting attention is attempted mapping of 17th century Britain and Ireland to the current US context without any of the necessary qualifications due to religion or nation.