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The Fourth Branch

Jonathan Turley, the liberal law professor who spoke of Obama’s being “the threat the Constitution was designed to prevent,” wrote about the rise of the bureaucratic state earlier this year:

This  growth since the founding has led to increasing power and independence for agencies. The shift of authority has been staggering. The fourth branch now has a larger practical impact on the lives of citizens than all the other branches combined.

The rise of the fourth branch has been at the expense of Congress’s lawmaking authority. In fact, the vast majority of “laws” governing the United States are not passed by Congress but are issued as regulations, crafted largely by thousands of unnamed, unreachable bureaucrats. One study found that in 2007, Congress enacted 138 public laws, while federal agencies finalized 2,926 rules, including 61 major regulations.

At the very least, it’s an argument against term limits.  But then, any Yes, Minister devotee doesn’t need to be convinced of that.

It also seems related to the idea of the “unitary executive,” that presidents like and Congresses don’t, although not in the way that people seem to be using the term.  A quick search didn’t reveal anywhere that Turley himself has written about the unitary executive, but it seems, at first glance, that this would also be an argument in favor of it. At least it would keep the bureaucracy under some sort of elective control.

Posted in Law.