Obama to make a recess appointment, even though Congress is not in recess


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The Constitution is such an inconvenient thing: Obama has announced that he will make a recess appointment today, even though Congress is not in recess.

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10 comments

  • Jim

    Yes, President Obama has made about 30 such appointments and disregarded the Constitution about 30 times.
    Of course, President G.W. Bush made about 170 such recess appointments.
    President Reagan disregarded the Constitution about 240 times.
    Even the father of our country did it once.
    All in good company, no?

  • LINO

    Are you saying the President took advantage of a “loophole” to get something accomplished that was blocked by a hostile legislature?
    That is what happened.

    Both parties do it. It’s how the system works. Is it how it was intended to work? I doubt it. Does that matter?

    If you think it’s wrong, legislate it away—or vote in people that will. Good luck with that. The problem is that both parties use these loopholes to their advantage in similar situations. Neither party (or any President) wants to really change it. It’s not much different with “earmarks” or pork—everyone’s against it until it affects their constituents. However, it sounds good to attack it in a speech to a friendly audience. It’s like waiting for the next “declared war”. You’ll have a long wait.

    The short answer: Quit your whining. Constitutional purists better get used to living in the real world, because that’s where things actually get done. The Constitution is a superb document, but it is not scripture. Expecting people to treat it as such is a path lined with disappointment, at the very least.

  • Craig Beasley

    LINO, The senate already said “No” on this particular appointment, and is still in session, NOT in recess. This was in no way a “recess” appointment loophole gambit. It was ignoring a lawful judgement from Congress.

    What if the O decides to enter into a treaty, the Senate says “No”, and the POTUS decides its valid in defiance? That’s where this stuff leads. Is that okay with you?

    Recess appointments are subject to congressional review, but this appointee has already been reviewed and denied. Do you really not see what has happened here?

  • Jim

    Certain members of the Senate say they are not in recess because every 4 days a relatively local member gavels in and 20 seconds later gavels out. No business is conducted.
    The President, on the other hand, says the Senate is in recess because in fact no business is conducted, and because no members are present…which means appointments cannot be passed or denied.
    He says it is a gimmick to prevent him from performing his constitutional right, which is to make recess appointments.
    And I hate to break this to you, that is exactly what it is and everybody knows it.

    This intra-session recess was first used by a Democratic congress to prevent President G.W. Bush from making some appointments. Most notably William Pryor on the 11th Circuit Court. A court upheld Bush’s right to make the intra-session appointment when Ted Kennedy challenged it (you must have been with Ted on that one). The Supreme Court did not hear it.

    So if any legal precedent exists, it so far sides with President Obama that Congress is indeed in recess. But thats OK, maybe the Republicans will sue the President, and who knows, with a conservative Supreme Court they may even win (saying the President is doing anything unconstitutional is just ridiculous since he is interpreting what the constitution allows just as Congress is doing- both are doing what they should and the courts will decide who is right). But know this, if you get what you want, the Democrats will then also use intra-session to deny Republican Presidents the right to make recess appointments. Of course you will be consistent and side with the Democrats when they do.

    Here is a good article from The Hill, written in 2010 by two members of the Bush administration suggesting the President should go ahead and challenge Congress on this one. He has done just that
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/14/AR2010101405441.html

  • LINO

    Craig,

    Games, games and more games. Actually, I don’t like any of this–on either side. The fact is, if one side can skirt the rules, don’t get all upset when the other side answers in kind.

    Your argument would carry more weight if the Republicans would agree to objectively review ANY candidate for this agency. They made it very clear that they just don’t like the idea of this commission and the nominee’s credentials are of no interest to their position on the approval process. That is within their power, even though they are effectively removing the ability of a legally assembled body to function.

    The President acted within the scope of his power. The appointment he made is only good for a year, under the rules.

    If you don’t see what’s happening here as to your liking, you should get the rules changed for both parties.

  • LINO

    I vote with Jim.

  • Craig Beasley

    Craig,

    Games, games and more games.

    Not from me. The situation is pretty much black-and-white. You just refuse to admit it.

    Actually, I don’t like any of this–on either side. The fact is, if one side can skirt the rules, don’t get all upset when the other side answers in kind.

    No disagreement there.

    Your argument would carry more weight if the Republicans would agree to objectively review ANY candidate for this agency. They made it very clear that they just don’t like the idea of this commission and the nominee’s credentials are of no interest to their position on the approval process. That is within their power, even though they are effectively removing the ability of a legally assembled body to function.

    That’s part of Congress’ job in the check-and-balance – if the Executive Branch creates an agency that is not proper, is not seen as useful, or is otherwise onerous to the wishes of the People, then this is a completely proper and legal means to block its operation. Usually, a president enacts an agency to fill a need that most people agree exists, and little resistance is seen to Congressional approval, other than fighting over details. In this case, the agency itself is not seen a favorable change to the government mechanism, and Congress acted properly. The Executive is completely ignoring it and trying to hide behind a redefinition of “recess appointment” that not only doesn’t hold water, it is insulting.

    The President acted within the scope of his power.

    Not hardly.

    The appointment he made is only good for a year, under the rules.

    Actually, I think the next session of Congress can disapprove, whenever it convenes.

    If you don’t see what’s happening here as to your liking, you should get the rules changed for both parties.

    Why CHANGE rules, when the problem is in not FOLLOWING the rules?

  • Jim

    Craig-
    “…if the Executive Branch creates an agency that is not proper, is not seen as useful, or is otherwise onerous to the wishes of the People, then this is a completely proper and legal means to block its operation.”

    The President did not create this agency…Congress did. It is part of the Dodd-Frank bill. In fact, the constitution says that the President MUST enforce laws passed by Congress. That is the check and balance, that the President cannot whimsically decide which laws to enforce or not. It is the DUTY of the President to make sure Dodd-Frank, and thus the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is enforced.
    Congress IS the voice of the people when it comes to laws being passed. Congress, acting on behalf of the people of the United States, passed Dodd-Frank in 2010.
    Now you may not like Dodd-Frank, and some Republican congressman may not like it, but the “people” passed it. It can be changed by judicial review, or new laws being passed, or by being revoked by a majority in Congress.
    The President is not ignoring anything.

  • Craig Beasley

    My mistake. This still does not change the fact that the Executive is assuming authority to which it is not entitled. Bob has stated the situation more precisely than I, but I am sure you will continue to find some way to ignore what is in play.

  • Jim

    Well, I try not to ignore anything. If I did, that would make me an ignoramus. I do my best not to be that, so hopefully that is not the case. Have a great evening.

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