When Bureaucrats Veto the President

President Trump attends a Department of Veterans Affairs event at the White House, August 3, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Judges have pointed to the opinions of the civil service when striking down White House policies.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE W ashington is hotly debating whether President Trump’s wall-building falls within the powers that Congress has delegated to him. But the bureaucracy has been eroding the president’s executive power with much less fanfare. Deference to the “experts” in the “non-partisan” civil service has weakened the principle that government officials who are not accountable to the voters require oversight by those who are. Bureaucrats are now thought to deserve their own independent power base, and the president’s rejection of their expertise can be ruled illegal.

President Trump encountered this mindset just days into his administration. On January 30, 2017, Acting Attorney General Sally

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