This morning Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) reintroduced the Protecting our Democracy Act in Congress. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives in 2021, includes emergency powers and ethics reforms.
Martha Kinsella, senior counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had the following comment:
"The Protecting Our Democracy Act is critical to prevent future abuses of power in the executive branch. This bill is urgently needed. We already know of corrupt efforts to enlist the Department of Justice to help overturn the 2020 election. It is increasingly clear that extremists want to politicize the Justice Department even further if given the chance. The Protecting Our Democracy Act would help safeguard the Justice Department’s independence. The rule of law must be followed in every administration.
"Among its key provisions, the bill curbs political interference in federal law enforcement. And it would prevent abuse of the pardon power. It makes absolutely clear what is already in the law: no president can pardon himself.
“Additionally, the Protecting Our Democracy Act would create clear rules to enforce the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses, foundational anti-corruption provisions in our Constitution. This bill would also bolster ethics rules and other safeguards against abuse of power and self-dealing by high-level officials. And it would elevate Congress’ role in evaluating emergency declarations made by a president, helping guard against abuse of emergency powers.
“We urge Congress to pass this bill.”
Brennan Center Resources:
- “Reform Presidential Emergency Powers Before It’s Too Late” (Elizabeth Goitein and Joseph Nunn, Brennan Center for Justice, 2022)
- “January 6 Committee Revelations Show Need to Prevent Politicization of Justice Department” (Martha Kinsella, Brennan Center for Justice, 2022)
- “After Four Years of Abuse, Tangible Fixes Abound for Restoring the Rule of Law” (Martha Kinsella and Daniel Weiner, The Fulcrum, 2021)
- “Restoring the Guardrails of Democracy” (Elizabeth Goitein, Martha Kinsella, Tim Lau, Daniel Weiner; Brennan Center for Justice; 2021)
- “Proposals for Reform” and “Proposals for Reform Volume II” (National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy, chairs: Preet Bahara and Christine Todd Whitman, 2018 and 2019)