Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Rogue President - Obama Appointments 'Unprecedented Power Grab From Congress'

There's this document called the Constitution. Now, in Article II, Section II of the Constitution it says:

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.

President Obama had some fairly radical appointments he wanted to make. One of them was Richard Courdray, whom the president want to head the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Senate objected because of the unprecedented power it would have placed in one man answerable only to the White House ( similar groups like the FDIC and the SEC have executive boards) and rejected his nomination.

Since then, the Senate has been in pro forma session to prevent recess appoints, in accordance with the Constitution.

The president decided that he was going to decide whether Congress was in session or not, and simply appointed Courdray in a recess appointment.He followed that up later in the day with recess appointments for three pro union members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Speaker Boehner called the appointment an “extraordinary and entirely unprecedented power grab,” and said that the position “had not been filled for one reason: the agency it heads is bad for jobs and bad for the economy.”

Congress blocked Cordray because they want to revamp the CFPB. Its financing, for example, comes from the Federal Reserve,giving it no Congressional oversight.

As an interesting side not, it also violates the Obama Administration's own policies.

It shatters legal precedent and violates the president's oath to protect and defend the Constitution. And as always with this president, it's about the politics.This is a way for him to energize his base against 'obstructionist Congressional Republicans.' That's whom he's decided he's running against.

the Senate Democrats, to their shame are not going to challenge an incumbent Democrat president on this, so it will be left to the Republicans.

They can, of course, take the president to court and tie this up. Among other things, the Dodd-Frank bill that created the CFPB and the director's position Cordray would fill specifically states that the director's executive powers will not take effect until the CFPB director "is confirmed by the Senate." That would certainly give President Obama the political platform he wants.

Or they can punt for now and take this up say, in two months when the new tax bill needs to be voted on.

There's also a chance that an outside party like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce could file suit.

We'll see.

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