Michael J. Gerhardt, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law and director of the UNC Center for Law and Government, testified Wednesday, Sept. 12, before the United States House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee in a hearing on "The Obama Administration's Abuse of Power."
Gerhardt was the only Democratic witness to testify during the hearing. In his written testimony, Gerhardt thanked the committee for the invitation, adding, “There is nothing more meaningful to a constitutional law professor than the opportunity to be of service to this institution on significant questions about the meaning and scope of the Constitution.”
Gerhardt explained his two main considerations for judging the possibility of an administration’s abuse of power. The first, he said, was the consideration of the distinction between the Constitution and politics. “I think there is credible support for the President’s and administration’s judgment on executive privilege, including historical and judicial precedents, and this credible support would exist, regardless of the President’s party or the political affiliation of the people who lead his Justice Department,” Gerhardt said.
Gerhardt named the second principle he follows as “affirming the Constitution’s establishment of a robust system of checks and balances.”
“As a constitutional law professor, I appreciate the robust system of checks and balances the founders gave us in the Constitution,” said Gerhardt. "Today’s hearing is plainly an exercise in checks and balances in practice.”
Details and video of the hearing.
Gerhardt's written statement to the committee.
-September 12, 2012