New CEI report proposes bold reforms to restore Constitution’s constraints on government power

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A new Competitive Enterprise Institute report proposes significant reforms aimed at restoring the U.S. Constitution’s separation and balance of powers that are vital to safeguarding freedoms from government abuse.

“In America we are experiencing a collapse of the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government, undermining crucial limits on power,” said Dan Greenberg, CEI general counsel and co-author of the report, Constitutional Restoration: How to rebuild the separation of powers.

“The failure to preserve the separation of powers has led to much injustice,” added co-author Devin Watkins, CEI attorney. “For example, many federal agencies have in-house court systems that function as both prosecutor and judge, making it difficult to mete out impartial justice. The Federal Trade Commission, for instance, has won every case in the last 25 years that it has brought before its own administrative judges.”

The report sets forth reforms to restore constraints on power by making sure each branch of government adheres to its unique function: the executive in charge of executing, the legislature in charge of legislating, and the judiciary in charge of judging. Key reforms:

  • Congress should end relevant funding for binding adjudicators and quasi-judicial bodies housed in executive and independent agencies and move all cases and controversies into Article III courts.
  • Congress should stop delegating duties to executive branch agencies, replacing agency rulemaking with new congressional committees that replace rules with legislation.

The report recognizes that people have come to expect and depend on extensive federal regulation and that Congress has become used to passing legislation riddled with gaps. Therefore, the reform framework proposes a modest start, implementing reforms at one or two agencies (like the Department of Commerce and/or the Federal Communications Commission) and proceeding with Incremental changes over time.