This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Turley in 2016
|Education||University of Chicago (BA)|
Northwestern University (JD)
|Sub-discipline||Constitutional law, tort law, criminal law, legal theory|
Jonathan Turley is an American attorney, legal scholar, writer, commentator, and legal analyst in broadcast and print journalism. He is a professor at the George Washington University Law School, and has testified in United States Congressional proceedings about constitutional and statutory issues. He participated in numerous Federal House impeachment hearings and Senate removal trials including the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Early life and education
Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is the youngest person to receive an academic chair in the school's history. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POPS), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.
His articles on legal and policy issues appear regularly in national publications; as of 2012, Turley has had articles published in newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He frequently appears in the national media as a commentator on a multitude of subjects ranging from the 2000 U.S. presidential election controversy to the Terri Schiavo case in 2005. He often is a guest on Sunday talk shows, with more than two-dozen appearances on Meet the Press, ABC This Week, Face the Nation, and Fox News Sunday. He served as a contributor on Countdown with Keith Olbermann from 2003 until 2011 on MSNBC, and later on Current TV in 2011 and early 2012; Turley also appears occasionally on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now!.
Since the 1990s, he has been a legal analyst for NBC News, CBS News, the BBC and Fox News covering stories that ranged from the Clinton impeachment to presidential elections. He is on the board of contributors of USA Today. He is a columnist with The Hill. Since 2018, he has been a legal analyst for Fox News.
This section needs expansion with: up-to-date content that follows some logical structure, e.g., chronology of date of published opinion, or grouping of stated opinions, with statements chronological within those (so evolution of perspective can be gleaned). You can help by adding to it. (January 2020)
Commenting on the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which, he contends, does away with habeas corpus, Turley says, "It's something that no one thought—certainly I didn't think—was possible in the United States. And I am not too sure how we got to this point. But people clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us."
He is a critic of special treatment for the church in law, asking why there are laws that "expressly exempt faith-based actions that result in harm."
Turley disagrees with the theory that dealing with bullies is just a part of growing up, claiming that they are "no more a natural part of learning than is parental abuse a natural part of growing up" and believes that "litigation could succeed in forcing schools to take bullying more seriously".
He has written extensively in opposition to the death penalty, noting, "Human error remains a principal cause of botched executions... eventually society will be forced to deal directly with a fundamental moral question: Has death itself become the intolerable element of the death penalty?"
Turley has said, "It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right." Moreover, Turley testified in favor of the Clinton impeachment.
In another commentary, Turley defended Judge Henry E. Hudson's ruling declaring the individual mandate in health insurance unconstitutional for violating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution: "It's very thoughtful—not a screed. I don't see any evidence this is motivated by Judge Hudson's personal beliefs... Anybody who's dismissing this opinion as a political screed has obviously not read the opinion."
For Obama, there has been no better sin eater than Holder. When the president promised CIA employees early in his first term that they would not be investigated for torture, it was the attorney general who shielded officials from prosecution. When the Obama administration decided it would expand secret and warrantless surveillance, it was Holder who justified it. When the president wanted the authority to kill any American he deemed a threat without charge or trial, it was Holder who went public to announce the "kill list" policy. Last week, the Justice Department confirmed that it was Holder who personally approved the equally abusive search of Fox News correspondent James Rosen's e-mail and phone records in another story involving leaked classified information. In the 2010 application for a secret warrant, the Obama administration named Rosen as "an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator" to the leaking of classified materials. The Justice Department even investigated Rosen's parents' telephone number, and Holder was there to justify every attack on the news media.
In a December 2013 congressional hearing, responding to a question from Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) about presidential power in the Obama administration, Turley said:
The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he's not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He's becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power in every single branch. This Newtonian orbit that the three branches exist in is a delicate one but it is designed to prevent this type of concentration. There is [sic] two trends going on which should be of equal concern to all members of Congress. One is that we have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama. We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are quite large that issue regulations. The Supreme Court said recently that agencies could actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction.
On November 21, 2014, Turley agreed to represent House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican Party in a suit filed against the Obama administration alleging unconstitutional implementation of the Affordable Care Act, specifically the individual mandate.
On October 11, 2016, Libertarian Party candidate for President, Gary Johnson, announced that if he was elected President, Turley would be one of his two top choices for the Supreme Court seat that remained open following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Turley has been repeatedly named as a top pick for the Court by libertarian presidential candidates, including in 2020.
In a 2017 column for The Hill, Turley was critical of military intervention in the Middle East and questioned its constitutionality. He also mentioned that he supported the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch.
Testimony before Congress
The conceptual thread running through many of the issues taken on by Turley is that they involve claims of executive privilege. For example, he said that the president's claim of executive authority based on Article Two "would put our system on a slippery slope." He has argued against national security exceptions to fundamental constitutional rights.
Turley has testified regularly during national controversies. He testified at the confirmation hearings of Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Attorney General William Barr. He also testified during the Clinton impeachment hearings.
Turley also has testified in Congress against President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program and was lead counsel in a case challenging it. In regard to warrantless wiretaps he noted that, "Judge Anna Diggs Taylor chastised the government for a flagrant abuse of the Constitution and, in a direct message to the president, observed that there are no hereditary kings in America."
When Congressional Democrats asked the Justice Department to investigate the CIA's destruction of terrorist interrogation tapes Turley said, "these are very serious allegations, that raise as many as six identifiable crimes ranging from contempt of Congress, to contempt of Justice, to perjury, to false statements."
When the U.S. Senate was about to vote on Michael Mukasey for U.S. attorney general, Turley said, "The attorney general nominee's evasive remarks on 'water-boarding' should disqualify him from the job." On the treatment of terrorism suspect José Padilla, Turley says, "The treatment of Padilla ranks as one of the most serious abuses after 9/11... This is a case that would have shocked the Framers. This is precisely what many of the drafters of the Constitution had in mind when they tried to create a system of checks and balances." Turley considers the case of great import on the grounds that "Padilla's treatment by the military could happen to others."
Turley, in his capacity as a constitutional scholar, testified in favor of the Clinton impeachment. He was quoted extensively by congressman James Rogan during the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
On December 4, 2019, Turley testified before the House Judiciary Committee regarding the constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment in the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, arguing against a Trump impeachment. In his testimony, Professor Turley objected to the effort to craft articles of impeachment around four criminal allegations" bribery, extortion, obstruction of justice, and campaign finance violations. He argued that the evidence did not meet the standard definitions of those crimes and, against the testimony of the three Democratic witnesses, such legal definitions have always been used as a measure for impeachment deliberations. Turley objected to the lower of the impeachment standards to "fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger."  The Committee ultimately rejected all four of those articles and adopted the two that Professor Turley argued could be legitimate if proven: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Where the Committee departed from the testimony was the rejection of Professor Turley's call for more time to develop a more complete record rather than fulfill a promise to impeach by Christmas—an issue that was rekindled by the delay in the submission of the articles to the Senate as new evidence emerged in 2020. It was observed that the bases he expressed regarding his prior position that President Bill Clinton should be impeached diametrically contradicted the opinions he shared regarding the impeachment of President Donald Trump, twenty one years later. Those 2019 reports contrasted his extensive quotes from the separate processes. Turley sought to clarify his positions regarding the two impeachments the next day in an op-ed. Turley noted that in both hearings he stressed that a president could be impeached for non-criminal acts, including abuse of power, and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler ended the Trump impeachment hearings by quoting him to that effect. He has noted that the only disagreement was the sufficiency of the record and his calling on House to issue subpoenas for key witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton. The push for additional time was due in part to Turley's concern that the House was going to impeach a president for going to the courts rather than yielding to congressional demands for witnesses and documents. Given the short period of investigation, Turley objected that such a move would effectively make seeking judicial review as high crime and misdemeanor. He noted that both Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were able to go all the way to the Supreme Court on their challenges before impeachment. While Turley told the Committee that such judicial opinions were not required to impeach on obstruction, the abbreviated period of investigation undermined the foundation of that article. Turley was cited by both the White House and House managers in their arguments before the United States Senate in the Trump impeachment trial. During the trial, Turley opposed the White House argument that impeachment requires a criminal allegation. Turley wrote in the Washington Post that "If some of the president’s critics are adopting a far too broad understanding of impeachable offenses, the White House is adopting a far too narrow one."
Turley's views were also cited on the House floor in the second impeachment of President Donald Trump in January 2021, particularly his opposition to what he called a "snap impeachment." Turley opposed the decision to forego any hearing to consider the implications of such a rapid impeachment, consider changes to the language, and allow for a formal response from President Trump. While Turley said that Trump's conduct could amount to impeachable conduct, he expressed reservations over the specific language of the article on free speech grounds.  He condemned Trump's speech before the riot on Twitter when it was still being given and opposed the challenge to the electoral votes from the outset.  He argued for a bipartisan, bicameral vote of censure to condemn Trump for the harm that he caused the nation with his speech. 
Commentary on 2020 United States presidential election
In the wake of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Turley argued that, despite his doubts that fraud existed, Americans should welcome the involvement of the courts to vet and validate the election results.
This section needs to be updated.January 2020)(
Turley was ranked as 38th in the top 100 most cited "public intellectuals" (and second most cited law professor) in a 2001 study by Judge Richard Posner of intellectuals referenced in the media and public debates.
He was ranked among the nation's top 500 lawyers in 2008. Turley was found to be the second most cited law professor in the country as well as being ranked as one of the top ten military lawyers.
In 2008 his blog was ranked as the top law professor blog and legal theory blog by the American Bar Association Journal survey of the top 100 blogs. His work with older prisoners has been honored in various states, including his selection as the 2011 recipient of the Dr. Mary Ann Quaranta Elder Justice Award at Fordham University. He has received other awards including the James Madison award and was declared one of four university fellows at the Utah Valley University in 2019.
Turley has served as counsel in notable cases; representing whistleblowers, military personnel, and a wide range of other clients in national security, environmental, and constitutional law cases. His cases as lead counsel have secured decisions striking down both a federal and a state law, among them:
- Lead counsel in United States House of Representatives v. Price, the 2014 constitutional challenge of President Obama's changes to the Affordable Care Act
- Lead counsel in Brown v. Buhman, for the Brown family from the TLC reality series Sister Wives, in their challenge of Utah's criminalization of polygamy
- Lead counsel for five former United States Attorneys General in litigation during the Clinton Impeachment in federal court
- Lead counsel to 'Five Wives Vodka" in successful challenge of ban on sales in Idaho due to a finding that the product was insulting to Mormons
- Lead counsel representing Dr. Sami Al-Arian in securing this release for civil contempt and later, in defense of criminal contempt charges (which were dropped after years of litigation)
- Larry Hanauer, a House Intelligence Committee staff member falsely accused of leaking classified information to The New York Times 
- David Faulk, a whistleblower who revealed abuses at NSA's Fort Gordon surveillance programs 
- Dr. Eric Foretich, in overturning the Elizabeth Morgan Act in 2003 
- Former Judge Thomas Porteous's impeachment trial defense  Turley characterized Porteous's chronic bribe-taking as merely being a "moocher", convicted on four articles of impeachment, removed as judge by a Senate vote of 94-2 
- Defendants in terrorism cases, including Ali al-Tamimi (the alleged head of the Virginia Jihad/Paintball conspiracy)- On September 1, 2020, a federal court found that his challenges to his conviction had merit and ordered his release to Professor Turley at Supermax in Colorado to drive back to Virginia to avoid risks of Covid-19.
- Area 51 workers at a secret air base in Nevada.
- Lead counsel in the litigation over the mass arrests at the World Bank/IMF protests in Washington.
- Turley represented the Rocky Flats grand jury in Colorado 
- Turley testified on December 4, 2019, regarding the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, regarding constitutional issues not supporting the impeachment of Trump.
- Coleman, Justine (December 4, 2019). "GOP witness to say Trump impeachment would set a 'dangerous precedent'". The Hill. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
- "Clinton Impeachment Testimony: House Judiciary Committee". JONATHAN TURLEY. August 20, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- Turley, Jonathan (October 10, 2000). "A Farewell To Sid Yates". Chicago Tribune.
- Turley, Jonathan (February 17, 2014). "Report: NSA Spied On Lawyers In Confidential Communications With Clients". JONATHAN TURLEY. Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
- Turley, Jonathan (February 24, 2014). "Richard Grenell Achieves A Historic Milestone As Acting Director Of National Intelligence". JONATHAN TURLEY. Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
- Release Elderly Inmates, by Jonathan Turley, Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2006
- "George Washington University Law School, The Project for Older Prisoners". Archived from the original on April 14, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- "Jonathan Turley | GW Law | The George Washington University". www.law.gwu.edu. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- Get Congress Out of the Page Business, by Jonathan Turley, The New York Times, October 4, 2006
- The Free World Bars Free Speech, by Jonathan Turley, The Washington Post, April 12, 2009
- Turley, Jonathan (October 4, 2007). "A liberal's lament: The NRA might be right after all". USA Today. Gannett Company. p. A 11. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
- Perjury Isn't a Political Decision, by Jonathan Turley, The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 1998
- Marcus, Ruth (July 30, 1998). "Jonathan Turley Takes His Case to TV". The Washington Post.
- Jonathan Turley at MSNBC Jonathan Turley at MSNBC
- Temptation tops the Constitution, USA Today, March 22, 2005
- At New Network, Olbermann Sets Sights on MSNBC, The New York Times, June 19, 2011
- Is Bush Administration’s Bank Spy Program One Part of a Resurgent Total Information Awareness?, Democracy Now!, June 27, 2006
- "Bio". JONATHAN TURLEY. August 18, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- USA Today's Board of Contributors, USA Today, March 22, 2011
- "Jonathan Turley". The Hill. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- "Jonathan Turley". Fox News. December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
- Rachel Maddow Show: Jonathan Turley on War Crimes, Video, January 10, 2009
- "Polygamy laws expose our own hypocrisy". USA Today. Published: October 3, 2004.
- "Polygamy vs. Democracy". The Weekly Standard. Published: June 5, 2006.
- "The Floodgates Open: USA Today Promotes Polygamy".
- National yawn as our rights evaporate, New law redefines habeas corpus law professor explains, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, October 17, 2006
- When a child dies, faith is no defense. Why do courts give believers a pass?, The Washington Post, November 16, 2009
- "Bullying's Day in Court", USA Today, July 15, 2008
- The Punishment Fits the Times Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine", USA Today, January 16, 2008.
- Scalia to Talk About Constitution to House Members, Los Angeles Times, January 5, 2011
- "Troubling Times, a Troubling Nominee", USA Today, January 9, 2006
- "The Roberts Court: Seeing Is Believing", USA Today, July 5, 2006
- "House Takes Up Impeachment Task With Time Short", The Washington Post, November 15, 1998
- Health-law judge's prosecutor past, by Josh Gerstein, Politico, December 13, 2010
- Turley, Jonathan. "Fire Eric Holder",USA Today, May 29, 2013
- Turley: Obama's "Become The Very Danger The Constitution Was Designed To Avoid", Real Clear Politics, December 5, 2013
- By Deirdre Walsh and Dana Bash. "Boehner: House GOP files Obamacare suit - CNNPolitics". CNN. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- "Gary Johnson Announces His Top 2 SCOTUS Picks". The Libertarian Republic. October 12, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- Tan, Anjelica (March 29, 2017). "Is America's military effort in the Middle East constitutional?". The Hill. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- Legal scholars split on wiretaps, The Washington Times, January 17, 2006
- Can Congress stop the war?, USA Today, January 17, 2007
- Senate takes up impeachment of Louisiana judge, The Washington Times, December 7, 2010
- Restoring the Republic 2008: Foreign Policy & Civil Liberties Archived October 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The Future of Freedom Foundation, June 6, 2008
- "TURLEY TESTIFIES IN SENATE GORSUCH CONFIRMATION HEARING". JONATHAN TURLEY. March 23, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- "Turley Testimony In Senate Confirmation Hearing Of Loretta Lynch". JONATHAN TURLEY. January 29, 2015. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- "TURLEY TESTIFIES IN BARR CONFIRMATION HEARING". JONATHAN TURLEY. January 16, 2019. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- NSA ruling much like a pig in parlor, Chicago Tribune, August 20, 2006
- CIA, US Justice Dept. to Investigate Destruction of Interrogation Tapes, Voice of America News, December 8, 2007
- Mukasey's confirmation: a vote about torture, Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2007
- In Padilla interrogation, no checks or balances, Christian Science Monitor, September 4, 2007
- The Worst Congress Ever, Rolling Stone, October 17, 2006
- Clinton Impeachment Testimony House Judiciary Committee, August 20, 2007
- The Impeachment Hearings, Debate on Article IV, Federal News Service, December 12, 1998
- The GOP's only impeachment witness on Wednesday contradicted his own previous testimony, Business Insider, Sonam Sheth, December 4, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
- Jonathan Turley Is Exhibit A That the Clinton Debacle Never Really Ended, Esquire, Charles Pierce, December 4, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
- Trump impeachment hearings: Legal scholars' testimony in both Trump, Clinton cases stress 'Abuse of power', Newsweek, James Crowley, December 4, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
- "Opening statement" (PDF). int.nyt.com. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- Bloomberg, Anna (209). "House Judiciary Committee holds first impeachment hearing". www.jurist.org. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- "Turley: Testifying for Republicans should not be a sin for academics". TheHill. December 28, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- "Democratic impeachment case collapses under weight of time". TheHill. January 4, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- "Turley: Democrats offering passion over proof in Trump impeachment". TheHill. December 5, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- "Jonathan Turley On His Impeachment Testimony". NPR. December 5, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- "Opinion on the hearing". www.latimes.com. December 9, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- "House impeachment vote". www.latimes.com. December 18, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- Public intellectuals : a study of decline, by Richard A. Posner, Harvard University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-674-00633-X
- History of the Opinion Awards, The Week Magazine, April 14, 2010
- The John Marshall Law School Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, January 20, 2008
- The Lawdragon 500 for 2008 Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, October 16, 2008
- The Blawg 100, ABA Journal, December 2, 2008
- The Turley Blog Leads in Vote on Best Law Professor and Legal Theory Blogs, Jonathan Turley blog, December 27, 2008
- House Staff Member Cleared in Inquiry on Leak of Iraq Intelligence Estimate, The New York Times, November 22, 2006
- Jonathan Turley to Advise NSA Whitsle-blower, Legal Times and The National Law Journal, October 10, 2008
- Elizabeth Morgan Act and Legislating Family Values November 20, 2007
- "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 2nd Session". www.senate.gov.
- Michael A. Memoli (December 9, 2010). "Senate convicts Louisiana federal judge in impeachment trial". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
The Senate also voted to bar him from ever holding public office in the future... The vote on the first count was unanimous, 96-0. On subsequent counts, the votes were 69-27, 88-8, and 90-6. Impeachment required a vote of two-thirds of the Senate.
- Dr. Al-Arian's Lawyers in Virginia, Free Sami Al-Arian website
- Lawyer views high court appeal of Area 51 lawsuit a longshot, Las Vegas Sun, August 7, 1998
- At last, a glimpse of Area 51, Las Vegas Sun, April 18, 2000
- Pershing Park lawyers fees top $2M, The Washington Post, March 4, 2011
- Some Flats data public, The Denver Post, May 6, 2008
- "Jonathan Turley testimony". The Hill. December 4, 2019. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
- Turley, Jonathan (December 31, 2013). "Happy New Year's Eve!!!". Jonathan Turley. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
- "William Barr: Unbound". The Washington Post. 2020.