It was another bad week for the Constitution.
Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution states:
“He Shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate; shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme court, and all other Officers of the United States . . .
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 their next Session.”
It is a clearly stated principle of the separation of powers. A fundamental part of the checks and balances that we all learned about in grade school. And yet President Obama ignored it.
Following his ongoing campaign theme of running against Congress, President Obama decided to take it upon himself to appoint Richard Cordray to be the head of the controversial Financial Protection Bureau while the Senate was in session. Despite that fact, Obama decided that he didn’t like not being able to appoint a guy that his liberal base loves. So what does he do? He unilaterally (and autocratically) decides that the Senate is not in session.
It is a sweeping move of executive power that tosses out decades of precedent to appoint yet another unaccountable czar.
Not only that, but just a few hours later he did it again – three times! Politico reports:
“The President used his power to name Sharon Block, Terence Flynn and Richard Griffin to the [National Labor Relations Board], which arbitrates workplace disputes and federal labor issues and has recently drawn considerable fire from Republicans after it sided with an aircraft workers’ union in a dispute with aerospace giant Boeing.
. . . The move was a big score for labor and Obama’s allies on the left, who congratulated the president for muscling past Republicans bent on blocking his agenda.”
Darn those Republicans using Constitutional means to exert the authority given to them by voters! Darn those silly “checks and balances” that are preventing the President from doing anything he wants whenever he wants!
And it’s not as if the Senate was dragging their feet over these appointments. The President only submitted the names to the Senate on December 15. The short amount of time means that the Senate has had no time to debate the appointments, no time to even look into them, a cloture vote hasn’t been scheduled, a filibuster hasn’t been filed, in fact, nothing has happened!
President Obama just wants another feather in his cap to hand to the labor unions – a key ally, in terms of funding and boots on the ground in 2012. The problem is, he had to tear up the Constitution to get it.
Of course it’s becoming something of a trend? Here’s a few more examples of Obama’s executive overreach, coupled with some Obama campaign promises:
- Promise: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
- Broken: Our attack on Libya
- Promise: “While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes. . . it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like. . .”
- Broken: Apparently the president didn’t think we’d notice the signing statement he issued on the night of New Year’s Eve in regards to the Defense Reauthorization law, listing a slew of things he just wasn’t going to follow. If the President doesn’t like a law, he has a Constitutional avenue to travel – veto it and let Congress decide whether to override.