Tag Archives: Antonin Scalia

Congress is now in recess until February 22

If President Obama wants to bypass the Senate approval process for getting a new Supreme Court judge approved, at least for the rest of his term, he has the opportunity right now.

Both bodies of have adjourned until later this month for the President’s Day recess. The Senate last met on Thursday. When doing so, it approved a “conditional adjournment resolution” for the Senate not to meet again until Monday, Feb. 22. The House met on Friday and at the close of business adopted the same adjournment resolution to get in sync with the Senate. The House is out until Tuesday, Feb. 23.

So, the House and Senate will not be meeting in the coming days. This is an adjournment and is not challengeable in court the way the NLRB recess appointments were because both bodies have agreed with each other to adjourn. This is a true recess and an opportunity for the president should he elect to take it — considering the political realities of the Senate and the position of its majority leader to potentially make a recess appointment.

In other words, unless the Senate, led by Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) decides to end its recess early, Obama has until February 22 to make an appointment to the Supreme Court that will be in effect through the end of his term.

The article assumes that once this recess ends in February, the Senate will not give Obama another chance. Based on Mitch McConnell’s past history however, I would not be so confident.