By Tim Devaney - 05/21/14 05:59 PM EDT
A George Washington University law professor on Wednesday compared President Obama to former President Richard Nixon because of his use of executive power.
“Really, President Obama is the president Richard Nixon always wanted to be,” professor Jonathan Turley said during a regulations event hosted by the libertarian Cato Institute.
“Many Democrats will rue the day that they remained silent as the American presidency changes,” Turley said.
Earlier this year, President Obama threatened to go around a deadlocked Congress to accomplish his policy goals through executive order with his “pen and phone,” if lawmakers failed to take action.
“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need," Obama told reporters before a Cabinet meeting in January. “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone.”
But Republicans have accused President Obama of overstepping his authority.
Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who moderated the panel, said he is just as concerned about the laws that the Obama administration chooses not to enforce.
“In numerous areas, including ObamaCare implementation, immigration law and environmental regulation, the administration has carried out its objectives not by exceeding the law's limits, but by picking and choosing which provisions to enforce,” Shapiro said.
Georgetown University law professor Nicholas Rosenkranz accused President Obama of not enforcing the laws in several situations, including ObamaCare's employer mandate, immigration laws and the IRS targeting of the Tea Party.
Andrew Grossman, a scholar at the Cato Institute, called it a “constitutional loophole.’
“The problem is that the Obama administration seems to believe it has discovered a constitutional loophole," Grossman said. "That is that it can suspend provisions of law, and it can use that as leverage to carry out its preferred policies."
But Turley warned Obama's power grab has come at a time when the public has let down its guard.
“We seem to be more passive; we seem to be more detached; we seem not to really appreciate the implications of what an uber presidency means to a nation that is based on limited powers and rule of law,” Turley said.