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Liberal pundit doubts constitutionality of Obama’s recent recess appointments

Even Timothy Noah at the left-of-center New Republic, who favors “a bolder stance by our president to counter Republican obstruction. . .  just” doesn’t “see how these appointments [to National Labor Relations Board] can be legal”.  He says this in an update to his piece contending that “Cordray’s Recess Appointment Sure Doesn’t Look Constitutional To” Him:

As someone who strongly supported a recess appointment for Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I’m confused as to why President Obama chose to act today. Had he appointed Cordray yesterday, during a brief period when the Senate was technically in recess, the action would have been supported by precedent. Apparently, though, that appointment would have lasted only through 2012. By appointing Cordray today, Obama can keep him at CFPB through 2013.

The trouble is that the Senate isn’t in recess. For complicated reasons the Republicans have the ability to prevent the Senate from going into recess, and they have done so in order to maximize the difficulty of Obama making recess appointments. The White House maintains that keeping the Senate in pro forma session is a stupid gimmick, which is certainly true. It further maintains that because it is a stupid gimmick, that gives the president the right to act as though the Senate were in recess. That’s the part I have trouble following.

Via RealClearPolitics.  On this issue, Noah and Ace are on the same page, with the latter mocking the president’s contention that “The Senate has effectively been in recess for weeks, and is expected to remain in recess for weeks.”  (Emphasis added.)  Quoting the relevant constitutional provision (Article II, Section II), Ace quips, “Funny, I don’t see anything about ‘effectively’ being in recess.

Noah also takes on other left-of-center bloggers as well as political scientists defending the recess appointments contending that the court cases and CRS reports they cite don’t justify the conclusions they’ve reached. Read the whole thing.



  1. Err, isn’t the US Senate controlled by Pres. Obama’s own party? That the Democrats can’t recess the chamber that they hold should be the embarrassment. And the Democrats didn’t object when Sen. Reid blocked the ability of Pres. Bush-43 to make recess appointments for OVER TWO YEARS.

    Pres. Obama in three years has made three-times as many recess appointments than Clinton and Bush-43 combined. Just as there are 43 non-vetted “czars” making and enforcing policy within the West Wing and Executive Office Building outside of the oversight of the US Senate.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — January 5, 2012 @ 9:56 am - January 5, 2012

  2. Who cares if it is constitutional?

    Is the Supreme Court going to come arrest him? Is Harry Reid going to encourage Boehner to start impeachment proceedings? Is the MSM going to roll out 24/7 Iran/Contra style coverage? Will citizens occupy Chick-fil-a and demand the government mow their lawns for free?

    The erosion of the constitution is steady, but not full of shockwaves. The populous is numb to the steady drift of fundamental transformation which serves to build the power of the dictocrats. (Dictocrat: A politician who places gaining and holding power to be supreme without regard to the rules,)

    Obama doesn’t play by the rules. Why should he? If there is any significant reaction to what he does, it is clearly racism. And the dictocrats have to support him because his undoing is to expose them for what and who they really are. Cosa Nostra, “this thing of ours”, is backed by omertà, the code of silence. For the dictocrats, it is all part of their code of honor. The Dons like Reid, Pelosi, Hoyer, Durbin, Schumer, Biden, Blabbermouth-Schultz, Clinton, Daley, Podesta, Axelrod, are all Cosa Nostra.

    Who is going to take them on? Someone playing by the rules?

    Comment by Heliotrope — January 5, 2012 @ 11:21 am - January 5, 2012

  3. The base laps this crap up. The Democrat left lionizes Castro, Chavez, and Mao because they were strong leaders who imposed a progressive agenda against the will of the people; and it thrills them when Obama does the same.

    Comment by V the K — January 5, 2012 @ 11:50 am - January 5, 2012

  4. neither house may recess without the approval of the other house of congress. The Senate was told the House did not approve it’s recess (not as 0bama claims because he told them they had to stay in session) and among the reasons are the Budget the Senate has refused to pass since 0bama took office. Also to prevent 0bama from adding this commie bastard to the NLRB who are already ignoring the COTUS to block Boeing from operating a plant they already built in South Carolina simply because it is a Right to Work state.

    Comment by JP — January 5, 2012 @ 12:00 pm - January 5, 2012

  5. V the K,

    The conservatives lap this up as well. We who are sentient are made ever more enthusiastic about the 2012 elections and busting Obama’s chops and putting Issa in as the Czar in charge of tracking down the nefarious actions of The Won and his sinister band of corruptocrats, ineptocrats and dictocrats.

    The Republican president must be dedicated to searching out the land mines planted since January of 2009 and disabling them. And he should name names and make the history known. The Cosa Nostra must be busted and exposed for who and what they are.

    If Glenn Beck can do it with interns, the money and power of the Oval Office can hardly shirk it off. Coolidge would have handled it by his lonesome.

    Comment by Heliotrope — January 5, 2012 @ 12:07 pm - January 5, 2012

  6. As long as, Boehner, McConnell and Cantor make up the leadership for republicans in warshinton we are screwed.

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 5, 2012 @ 2:16 pm - January 5, 2012

  7. Can we admit the democrats are beating the warshinton republicans to a bloody pulp at every turn? Can we admit the warshinton republicans expect Obama is a sure thing for a second term? Can we admot the warshinton republicans are a defeated bunch without hope?

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 5, 2012 @ 2:23 pm - January 5, 2012

  8. Richard, please provide the evidence for your rant. Thanks.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 5, 2012 @ 3:15 pm - January 5, 2012

  9. Daniel,

    As evidence I provide the total silence we hear from the mentioned warshinton republican leaders.

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 5, 2012 @ 3:19 pm - January 5, 2012

  10. Richard, just google John Boehner and Mitch McConnell on this topic and read their reactions. They have not minced words.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 5, 2012 @ 3:47 pm - January 5, 2012

  11. What will be interesting is to see how the Obama Administration thinks it can pursue legal actions against individuals or companies based upon rulings by an unconstitutionally selected NLRB. Any lawyer worth squat will immediately challenge their rulings based upon the illegal manner in which the board made their decision.

    Comment by JohnAGJ — January 5, 2012 @ 4:36 pm - January 5, 2012

  12. Daniel,

    If I have to “google” to find out what the warshinton leadership has to say it proves my points above. Why aren’t they holding press conferences everyday like this administration does so the whole world knows what they have to say? They are a bunch of feckless losers and I’m tired of losing because of them.

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 5, 2012 @ 5:07 pm - January 5, 2012

  13. Richard, numerous conservative bloggers have quoted both of them. Perhaps, the legacy media have not yet picked up their commentary, but I read Boehner and McConnell’s criticism almost from the very moment I read about the appointments.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 5, 2012 @ 5:19 pm - January 5, 2012

  14. Daniel,

    In this NYC market I have heard “Stretch” Pelosi’s praise of the president all day long but I have yet to hear what the republican leadership has put out. It’s nice that bloggers like you know what’s going on but it’s a problem when the general voting public only gets democrat side of it all. If the leadership had any fight in them at all I would expect to see them on fox tonight at the very least with a coherent explanation of what, why and how the democrats are doing and the consequence of it for every voter.

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 5, 2012 @ 7:44 pm - January 5, 2012

  15. Sorry, Mr. Bell, but “Faux” News is to be ignored (I believe Obama may have even instructed the rest of the media to do so, early on), so even if the Republican leadership appears on Fox, the rest of the media will safely ignore it all.

    I’m always shocked when I read or hear the vitriol with which The Left addresses anything Fox reports. Add in the fact that most voters really don’t pay close attention to politics (ignorance IS bliss), and the Republicans really do have an uphill battle getting their message out.

    On the other hand, it often does seem they don’t really care to try.

    Comment by Polly — January 5, 2012 @ 9:33 pm - January 5, 2012

  16. This is truly sick.

    Go to this link and read the comments.

    You have Barack Obama supporters, Obama Party staffers, people in government agencies and offices saying that, since Republicans won’t do exactly what Obama wants, Obama should dissolve Congress and rule by fiat.

    The mask has finally fallen. The Obama Party does not care about representative government or the Constitution. The Obama Party does not recognize any rights or privileges of the minority party. The Obama Party is a bunch of power-crazed, obsessive, hatemongering bigots who will do anything to get King Barack what he wants.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 6, 2012 @ 11:37 am - January 6, 2012

  17. Mr. Bell. I sometimmes feel the same as you but then I realize that the Congress that we elected are working hard but unable to get their message out. There is where we should be helping instead of critizing them.

    Even Fox has an equal amount of Democrates on as guests as they have GOP guests, They try to be balanced.

    The Dem party took over the media back in the 30s and 40s. Ike was a great hero to the media until he announced that he was running for president as republican. After 8 years in office, his name was mud. You know what they did to Reagon so why do you think the present GOP congressmen can get their message out. Thank god for the bloggers especially GP.

    Comment by John R — January 6, 2012 @ 1:34 pm - January 6, 2012

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