Skip to comments.Obama Thumbs His Nose at the Founders with One-Man Rule
Posted on 01/16/2012 4:06:05 AM PST by Kaslin
Of course President Obama is not concentrating on campaigning, White House press spokesmen assured us -- as the president headed off to Chicago for three fundraisers and a drop-in at his campaign headquarters, two days after a high-roller fundraising choked off traffic five blocks from the White House, with the assistance of a score of D.C. police cars.
No one, or at least no one who is paying attention, is fooled. It's standard presidential procedure to say you're not absorbed in campaigning even as you go out to raise money every other day. Bill Clinton, in my view, spent an undue amount of time fundraising, George W. Bush spent more, and Barack Obama makes them both look like pikers.
So Obama's scorn for the truth in this regard is only a minor matter. His scorn for the Constitution is something else.
That scorn has been expressed most recently in his "recess" appointments of members of the National Labor Relations Board and the chairmanship of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The quotation marks are appropriate because when he made the appointments the Senate was not in recess as the Constitution requires.
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution says that presidential appointments must be confirmed by the Senate unless Congress provides otherwise. But anticipating that the government may need officials when the Senate is unavailable, the section further provides that "the President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of the next session."
What constitutes a recess? Article I, Section 5 reads, "Neither house, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days."
The House did not consent to the adjournment of the Senate this year, so there is no recess, and hence no constitutional authority to make recess appointments.
The White House has belatedly trotted out an opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (headed by a political appointee) saying that the president was justified in considering the Senate in recess, because the sessions it was holding every three days were just pro forma or, in the words of Obama defenders, "gimmicks."
Factually this is flat wrong. At one of those sessions the Senate passed the payroll tax cut extension, an important piece of legislation.
More important, what gives the head of the executive branch the authority to decide whether one house of the legislative branch is conducting serious business? Can the president decide that the quality of Senate debate is so poor on any particular day that he may deem it to be in recess?
The recess appointments Obama made are to important offices. The National Labor Relations Board last year issued a complaint against Boeing for building a $1 billion aircraft plant in South Carolina. The complaint was withdrawn only after the union representing Boeing's Washington state workers bludgeoned the company into promising more jobs there.
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, established by the Dodd-Frank Act, has unusual powers, with a guaranteed revenue stream rather than reliance on congressional appropriations and a director with a fixed term (but can it extend beyond the end of the next session of Congress?) and independence from other regulatory authorities.
On this, Obama defied not only the Constitution, but Dodd-Frank, which explicitly states that the CFPB head can only take legal action after he is confirmed by the Senate. Presumably anyone aggrieved by one of his orders will sue and probably prevail.
So the appointment may turn out to be a futile act. But, hey, it's good fodder for campaign ads.
That's substantiated by the explanation for the appointment you can find of my.barackobama.com: "When Congress refuses to act, he will."
This looks uncomfortably close to the view taken by King Louis XIV. "L'etat, c'est moi," he is supposed to have said, and you don't need John Kerry's or Mitt Romney's command of French to know that that means one man rule.
The Framers of the Constitution saw it a different way. When the Senate refuses to confirm a presidential appointee, that person does not take office. When the Senate is not in recess, the president cannot make a recess appointment.
The Framers thought it more important to limit power than for government to act quickly. Barack Obama disagrees.
Republican presidential candidates have been praising the Founding Fathers. Obama has been defying them. Interesting contrast.
God bless the Second Amendment!
I don’t mind him attending fund raisers so much if he pays the bill to be transported there. When does he start paying for these trips out of those funds?
He is ripping us off.
As for the recess appointments, the Congress should be screaming “Bloody murder” but not a word out of McConnells or Boehners mouth. These supposed leaders are useless as teats on a boar hog.
I would like to hear one of our candidates request that Obama take all that campaign cash and apply it directly to the debt that he has incurred. Oh wait, they are spineless Republicans. Wake up and go after all Obama’s mistakes/destruction to this country/Socialism! And yes, he is a Socialist. This mess is what Socialism looks like. Very unhappy countries for the people to try to be successful.
This is what you get with spineless rinos!
The only weapon we have right now is the power of the purse (The House) and Boner won’t exercise that power, he’s such a loser :-(
If we controlled the Senate we could impeach and remove the bum, except that the rinos in the Senate would never convict.
We are so screwed.
One word explains why that will NEVER happen... boehner.
Of course he doesn’t respect the founders. They were just out of touch selfish white guys.
And then deport the dumb ass.
No. nobama thumbs his nose at each American citizen.
I’d go and chain myself to the White House gate, but I’ve chained myself to my computer so I’ll just sit here and type tsk-tsk-tsk.
Off-topic here. The only Presidential candidate who upon nomination, will slough off charges of racism and rip into Obama over this and other usurpations is Newt.
And he will bow to any non American citizen.
The GOP establishment are little more than the eunuchs in Emperor Obama’s court. If Obama is re-elected because the Republicans nominate a milquetoast like Romney our constitutional Republic will soon disappear into despotism.
This should be interesting.
Oh sure. I’m SURE Harry Reid’s Dem majority Senate will be happy to convict Obama when Tent Lott’s Senate WOULD NOT EVEN CONVICT CLINTON ON KNOWN OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.
Oh sure. Yes, you go right ahead and impeach and piss off the Independent voters and re-elect Obama. Sure, you go right ahead.