Skip to comments.GOP: Could Obama make a recess appointment overnight or on weekend? (strongly worded letter to DOJ)
Posted on 01/09/2012 6:05:42 AM PST by Libloather
GOP: Could Obama make a recess appointment overnight or on weekend?
By Pete Kasperowicz - 01/06/12 03:01 PM ET
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking the Obama administration whether recess appointments overnight and on the weekend are possible after the president's decision this week to appoint four federal officials despite pro forma sessions by Congress.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Grassley and seven other Republican senators on Friday pressed the Obama administration for more details about its decision to make the controversial recess appointments.
Grassley's letter said the White House broke with 90 years of precedent on Wednesday when it appointed Richard Cordray to the head the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) and three others to the National Labor Relations Board.
It also asks questions about what the change might mean in the near future, such as whether the president can make recess appointments during the weekend or in the evening after the Senate adjourns.
"The Justice Department and the White House owe it to the American people to provide a clear understanding of the process that transpired and the rationale it used to circumvent the checks and balances promised by the Constitution," Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement announcing the letter. "Overturning 90 years of historical precedent is a major shift in policy that should not be done in a legal opinion made behind closed doors, hidden from public scrutiny."
The letter outlined the history of that precedent, which started with a 1921 opinion from the attorney general that Senate adjournment for two days is not a recess, and that an adjournment of five or 10 days might also be enough. The letter notes that this opinion was reaffirmed in 1960, 1992 and 2001, and that the Department of Justice also argued before the Supreme Court in 2010 that "the recess appointment power can work in in a recess. I think our office has opined the recess has to be longer than three days."
"Taken together, these authorities by the department clearly indicate the view that a congressional recess must be longer than three days and perhaps at least as long as 10 in order for a recess appointment to be constitutional," the letter states.
The letter then asks eight questions about how Justice got around this prior position. For example, it asked whether the original 1921 opinion was withdrawn to make way for the new opinion and whether other opinions were withdrawn.
It also asks whether Justice was asked to render a formal opinion, whether that opinion will be made public, and whether Justice believes this week's decision was constitutional.
Aside from Grassley, the letter is signed by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) also wrote to Holder Friday, asking many of the same questions.
Specifically, Bachus asked whether Justice provided any input to the decision and asked that written documents on the matter be made public. He also asked for the department's view on whether the Senate was in recess when Cordray was appointed, and whether this opinion was shared with the White House before the decision was made.
Bachus asked whether the CFPB position Cordray has filled was technically a "vacancy" that could be filled with a recess appointment, given that the position was newly created.
The White House has not released a technical explanation for its decision. However, White House officials explained this week that they based the appointments on a legal opinion that Congress is in recess despite Congress meeting in pro forma sessions because no work is expected until late January.
Oh my, a strongly worded letter. That’s got to be scary for hussein.
why is he asking a criminal if he is a crook?
A strongly worded post it note, that’ll teach em.
Do the words look like bulging arms or what??? Does the paper always cut you??
“Senate adjournment for two days is not a recess, and that an adjournment of five or 10 days might also be enough. “
” an adjournment of five or 10 days might also be enough. “
This doesn’t make sense to me! Should it be “not enough?”
I say drop all recess appointments. It is ridiculous that a President can hire someone without confirmation to begin with. Bush picked 43 and Obama has picked 41 (in the same 3 year period). I don’t like the fact that either one did this. Get rid of ALL recess appointments. If you can’t get your candidate through the Senate then pick someone else.
Historically, it made sense to allow the President to fill a position when the Senate was out of town, to ensure the smooth operation of the government in the event of an unexpected vacancy.
In today's day and age, there's no need for it. In the case of a true emergency vacancy, the Senate can be reconvened for confirmation hearings pretty much overnight, or quicker. Even more so if they use the technology available to allow Senators to participate remotely.
How idiotic. Why ask DOJ? That’s asking for a slap down.
reading that letter is like reading something on FaceBook, BIG WHUP
bet McConnell put him up to it
obama should be having his (last)rights to him so they can duckwalk down the WhiteHut steps
Because the night time
Oh, is the right time
Might was well be.....he's trying to screw us, anyway.
“Might was well be.....he’s trying to screw us, anyway.”
Is it just me, or is that picture starting to resemble idi amin?
“I’m thinking Aristide.”
I’ll buy that. :)
States and business should simply announce they will not be adhering from rulings from this agency because of lack of due process in the appointment procedure and let the supreme court sort it out.
Bammy wanted a constitutional crisis, let’s give him one.