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Grassley, WSJ: Where’s The Legal Rationale For Obama’s “Recess” Appointments?

January 9th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

In an op-ed for USA Today, Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, writes, “President Obama’s appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unacceptable because it violates both the letter and spirit of the Constitution. The framers saw the dangers of power grabs by any one branch of government. The president upended years of Senate practice and more than 90 years of Justice Department precedent by bypassing the Senate to appoint his nominee to direct the new bureau. Overturning this sort of precedent is a major shift in the constitutional separation of powers. If there’s a legal rationale, the White House needs to make it public.”

Unfortunately little legal explanation has come from the White House about this outrageous maneuver. As The Wall Street Journal editors wrote last week, “A President has the power to make a recess appointment . . . . The Constitutional catch is that Congress must be in recess. The last clause of Section 5 of Article 1 of the Constitution says that ‘Neither House’ of Congress can adjourn for more than three days ‘without the Consent of the other’ house. In this case, the House of Representatives had not formally consented to Senate adjournment. It’s true the House did this to block the President from making recess appointments, but it is following the Constitution in doing so. Let’s hear Mr. Obama’s legal justification.”

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