Local Constitution thought-haver Jonathan Turley fired up the Twitter machine — newly improved with the bought-paid-for blue checkmark — last night to spell out a new constitutional crisis unfolding in Washington. Doubtless he’s available to comment on it should any of the booking producers over at Fox would like to hear from him!
But they might want to think twice since his constitutional analysis is… suspect.
This adds further fuel to the theory that the entity we know as “Jonathan Turley” is actually an interloper from a parallel dimension. Because in this timeline, the Constitution doesn’t have a “backsies” clause.
As Georgia State College of Law professor Anthony Michael Kreis explained:
This is not how statutory authority/interpretation works!!
If statute A says POTUS can act and Congress passes B to overturn A—but is met with a veto—that does not mean POTUS violates the law by acting consistent with the statute.
This isn’t about inherent executive authority.
Once upon a time, Congress passed a bill, duly signed into law by then-president George W. Bush, that granted the Secretary of Education the authority to waive federal student loan repayment in times of “national emergency.” Fast forward to the Trump administration and the COVID pandemic and the economic turmoil it caused becomes a “national emergency.” The Biden administration, acting under these laws as written unveils a student debt relief program.
The House and Senate have now voted to change that law. The current president, per Article I Section 7 of the United States Constitution, will veto that law. The legislators seeking to change the law lack the necessary two-thirds in each chamber to override that veto. Thus, the law of the land remains in place, and the Biden Education Department has the authority to enact the relief plan.
Neither the text nor subsequent constitutional history supports a theory that a future iteration of the legislative branch can unilaterally revoke previously enacted laws over the head of the executive branch. And they definitely can’t do so via simple majority if the executive doesn’t approve of the bill (or not returned to Congress within 10 days excluding Sundays, to be hypertechnical about it). Something about “checks and balances”… maybe Turley can look into it.
Soon, the Supreme Court will nix the student debt relief plan with some sort of non-delegation argle-bargle about Congress never having the authority to pass the original law two decades ago. And while they’ll be objectively wrong under the weight of existing constitutional precedent, at least the Court has the constitutional authority to do it.
Until then, Turley should stay focused on making up reasons to put Hunter Biden jail. He’s almost got him!!!
In his own mind.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.