Bold for Obama; unconstitutional for G. W. Bush

January 12, 2012

Why should it still matter that President Obama made four unconstitutional recess appointments a week or so ago?

As a prelude to why, Richard Cordray was appointed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new agency established by the 2011 Dodd/Frank finance bill, rife with financing and oversight problems.

Obama also made recess appointments of three new individuals to the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board), which was without a quorum for a long time.  This is the same board that told Boeing it could not open a new Boeing plant in South Carolina because South Carolina is a non-union state. 

In announcing the three NLRB appointments, Obama claimed he had the right to do so because he couldn’t wait for Congress to act, and because he had an obligation to make sure the middle class wasn’t being hurt by the do-nothing Congress.

In contrast, President Obama flat out decided on his own that the Senate was in recess, when they really weren’t, thereby violating articles of the Constitution and rules of the Senate by making recess appointments without the approval of Congress. 

Republicans rightly claimed that the Republican Congress was in “pro forma” session.  

A historical view:  Pro forma sessions, where a lone senator gavels in, were adopted by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2007 to stymie President George W. Bush’s perceived and potential abuse of his recess appointment power.  Bush could have defied the Democratic Congress and made recess appointments using the same claim as current Democrats, but decided not to confront Democrats with their obvious abuse of power and of the Constitution..… 

To Paraphrase:  Per the Constitution, Article I, Section 5, neither house of Congress shall adjourn, without the consent of the other, for more than three days . . . When both houses of Congress agree to adjourn, they go into ‘recess’, and during this time the President is authorized to make recess appointments.

Most likely the original intent of recess appointments was to give the President the power to put someone in place to resolve an emergency or a difficult issue. 

President Obama, however, is the first president to ram through a nominee that the Senate refused to confirm when the Senate is actually in session. 

And why should we be surprised? 

Herein lies the problem.  Such fragrant behavior is becoming a trademark of the Obama administration.  A common thread runs through the administration, held by Obama himself, that the Constitution is a living document and in need of modernization. The same belief is likewise rampant among the four liberal Supreme Court justices — Ginsberg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer — who think that the best of European law should be applicable to U.S. law.

For such arrogant action Obama is applauded; his recess appointments were considered a bold move.
Further insight into President Obama’s arrogant and authoritarianism abuse of power was the theme of the Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell post by Lachian Markey on January 10th.  Among the many examples given of Obama’s action, Lachian Markey had this to say about Obama’s recess appointments:

“Last week , President Barack Obama took the latest step on his road toward an arrogant, new authoritarianism with four illegal appointments that entirely trampled on the Constitution’s requirements.  Most troubling still, the President chose to shred the Constitution all in the name of serving his big Labor agenda while killing jobs in the process.”  

Mr. Markey went on to say:

“President Obama’s actions are exactly the kind that the founders feared and sought to guard against.  His illegal appointments usurp power from the American people’s duly elected representatives, and the regulations they will promulgate will, undoubtedly, contribute to the unabated growth of the undemocratic administrative state.”

The Constitution limits all three bodies of the federal government to make sure we don’t descend into tyranny.  When the President flagrantly breaks the rules, appoints czars who are issuing rules and guidelines without the authority of the Senate (a shadow cabinet over which there is no Congressional control), and when the Department of Justice won’t take action against black lawbreakers, we are sliding into tyranny.

It remains to be seen whether lawmakers will reassert their constitutional authority and take a stand again Obama’s authoritarianism behavior, which is but a looking glass into Obama’s disdain for the separation of powers and his rejection of liberty and freedom as the foundations upon which this nation was built and prospered.


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