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The rise of the fourth branch of government


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c7faaad0-c2ed-11e2-9fe2-6ee52d0eb7c1_story.html Washington Post:

The rise of the fourth branch of government
By Jonathan Turley

May 24, 2013 06:55 PM EDT

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University.


There were times this past week when it seemed like the 19th-century Know-Nothing Party had returned to Washington. President Obama insisted he knew nothing about major decisions in the State Department, or the Justice Department, or the Internal Revenue Service. The heads of those agencies, in turn, insisted they knew nothing about major decisions by their subordinates. It was as if the government functioned by some hidden hand.


Clearly, there was a degree of willful blindness in these claims. However, the suggestion that someone, even the president, is in control of today’s government may be an illusion.


The growing dominance of the federal government over the states has obscured more fundamental changes within the federal government itself: It is not just bigger, it is dangerously off kilter. Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency. Scissors-32x32.png

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. Scissors-32x32.png


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In Praise of Slow Learners

Steven Hayward



Theres this much to be said in praise of Jonathan Turley, professor of public interest law at George Washington University Law School, and frequent bobblehead on cable TV shows: at least he isnt a supercilious smug-mugger like Jeffrey Toobin. In addition, unlike Toobin, Turley often gets things right.


But come on man, youre only just discovering now that the federal administrative bureaucracythe fourth branch of governmenthas become problematic? From Turleys article today in the Washington Post:




From here Turley goes of the rails a bit, but failing to understand that Congress actually wants it this way.


But more to the point, it never ceases to amaze me when mainstream potentates like Turley come to understand what conservatives have been saying loudly for thirty or forty years, but somehow pose as though theyve discovered something new or are offering brilliant new insights.

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