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On The Front Lines

John W. Whitehead Joins Effort to Rein in Presidential Powers, Protect Rule of Law, Restore System of Checks and Balances to Government

WASHINGTON, DC — Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, has joined forces with other concerned legal minds to push back against growing threats to the rule of law as a result of governmental power grabs, overreaches and abuses of power, particularly from the Executive Branch, and the politicization of bedrock legal principles. The coalition, operating under the name Checks and Balances, was formed by prominent D.C. attorney George T. Conway III, and includes among its members Orin S. Kerr, Jonathan Adler, Marisa Maleck, Alan Charles Raul and Tom Ridge.

“Abuse of power—and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible—works the same whether you’re talking about sexual harassment, government corruption, or the rule of law. The rule of law—i.e., adhering to core legal principles over partisan politics—means that no one, including the president, gets special treatment in the eyes of the law. The rule of law demands transparency and due process, no matter what party is in power,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “Here’s what I know: give any one person (or government agency) too much power and allow them to believe they are entitled, untouchable and unaccountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused. We must guard against this in all councils of government.”

Whitehead founded The Rutherford Institute in 1982 as a nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending individuals whose rights have been threated or violated and sounding the alarm whenever the government runs afoul of the Constitution. The Rutherford Institute has been particularly vocal in calling for an adherence to the rule of law and pushing back against the government’s authoritarian impulses.

In joining the Checks and Balances coalition, Whitehead wholeheartedly echoes the group’s mission statement: “We believe in the rule of law, the power of truth, the independence of the criminal justice system, the imperative of individual rights and the necessity of civil discourse. We believe these principles apply regardless of the party or persons in power. We believe in ‘a government of laws, not of men.’ We believe in the Constitution. We believe in free speech, a free press, separation of powers, and limited government. We have faith in the resiliency of the American experiment. We seek to provide a voice and a network for like-minded attorneys to discuss these ideas, and we hope that they will join with us to stand up for these principles.”