Daniel Horowitz: State Legislatures Must ‘Take Back’ Power from Executive Branches

February 17, 2021 Updated: February 17, 2021

The United States is living through a time unlike any other, in which the normal rigor of the legislative process has been put aside amid the CCP virus pandemic, according to Daniel Horowitz. In its place are executive powers that have resulted in what Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said were “previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.”

Horowitz is the senior editor of TheBlaze and host of the Conservative Review podcast.

He told The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” that because the pandemic touches every aspect of people’s lives, some executive orders have impacted individual liberty “down to the breath you take.”

His comments come after President Joe Biden issued a record number of executive orders in his first month in office, including mandating rules around mask-wearing that require all travelers who are aged two and older to wear masks.

In the normal legislative process, Horowitz said, rules like mandatory mask-wearing would be debated, go through hearings, have input from constituents, and compromise would be sought and amendments put forward before agreements were made.

Instead, what’s currently happening is new rules are declared at press conferences, he said. “It doesn’t matter whether it violates the Bill of Rights. It doesn’t matter whether it violates statutes. It doesn’t matter for how long you’re doing it,” Horowitz said.

“This should concern everyone. It doesn’t matter what side of the spectrum you’re on in terms of broad politics,” he added.

Previously there has always been a transparent process of government involving committees, hearings, debates, and community consultation, with engagement between the people and their elected representatives.

“It’s not winner-take-all usually,” he said. “You have amendments and compromise.”

And in the case of masks, there would be discussion: “Well, you really think masks work, but do they work everywhere under every circumstance? What about people with disabilities? OK you want this to shut down, but do schools have to shut down?”

Horowitz said that governors, mayors, county executives, and even the president have been projecting power to such a degree that it affects every aspect of people’s lives, down to how they may breathe air, open a business, or go to school. “And it’s all being done without a legislative process,” he said.

Over the years, both Republican and Democrat presidents have been “ratcheting up” their executive actions as a means to project more power, he said, noting that these orders weren’t just to implement existing statutes and long-standing policies, which is the purpose of executive power. “We’re talking about very controversial, novel ideas,” he said.

He gave the example of an executive order that mandates mask-wearing that would require a person to keep their mask on while travelling up to the point they might need to be sick or put on an oxygen mask.

“The notion that you could do that executively, I don’t care where you are on the [political] spectrum, that is absurd,” he said.

Horowitz said Americans should be “bothered” by this. “That’s why I think it’s so important for state legislatures to get back on the playing field and start to take back some of that power,” he said.

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