You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘recess appointments’ tag.

Obama’s ‘Court-Packing’ Moment?

Posted by Mark A. Calabria

Although Franklin Roosevelt did go on to win another term after his court-packing debacle in 1937, his support dramatically declined after the incident.  Whereas his 1936 election came with the support of 62% of voters, his 1940 was down to 55% (granted, still a “landslide by modern standards).  And while it wouldn’t be until 1946 that Republicans would take the Senate, the 1938 mid-terms did cost the Democrats five Senate seats.  The point of all this?  Constitutional overreach comes at a cost, and in a nation split roughly evenly on Red/Blue ideological lines, that coust could make all the difference.

While it is still too early to tell, President Obama’s recent “recess” appointments have the potential to erode his support among independents, many of whom actually care about the Constitution.  While the National Journal‘s Shane Goldmacher is pondering why Republicans even want to take on this fight, it really should be the White House questioning whether it is worth it.  When Ron Paul says, “The president is not a dictator or a king who can simply ignore the Constitution whenever he feels frustrated by the system of checks and balances,” this is something that anyone can understand, even former law professors.

A few things to remember about FDR’s court-packing scheme.  First, unlike Obama’s recent appointments, FDR’s plot was actually constitutional, but still struck at the checks and balances behind the Constitution.  FDR also painted his plan as a way to rein in an out-of-touch, conservative Court that, in his view, protected “big business” (sounds a little familiar).  Despite FDR’s massive popularity at the time, and the unpopularity of both Republicans and the Court, the plan still cost him.

from Politico:

Liberal bloggers reacted in shock and surprise to President Barack Obama’s decision to recess appoint Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and members to the National Labor Relations Board, heralding a “new Obama” — one they hope is more likely to challenge Republicans head-on.

“This is part of the ‘new Obama,’” writes John Aravosis of the liberal AMERICAblog.

I really didn’t think Obama would want to set a new presidential precedent like this,” writes FireDogLake’s David Dayden, who had earlier predicted that the president would pass on recess appointments. “But obstructionists in the Senate have really left him little choice. … Until a price is paid for obstruction, there’s no reason for the obstructors to stop.”

No More Mr. Nice Obama” and “King of the Playground,” blared headlines for posts at the progressive The American Prospect.

Obama is “sending one more signal that the days of his accommodating Republican rejectionists are over,” the magazine’s Harold Meyerson wrote.

Daily Kos hailed Obama’s move as “bold,” a decision made despite the site’s prediction that “most [Republicans] will declare their use of a recess appointment to be unconstitutional, while talk of impeaching Obama will likely spread throughout the right-wing media.”
Read more:

the Politico reports that, in wake of forty-two Senators sending a letter indicating that Sir Donald Berwick is simply unacceptable for the job of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) head*, Senate Democrats have made an answer to that by… giving up trying to get Berwick nominated. There’ll be no fight, no confirmation hearing, no standing on what the Democrats consider ‘principle.’ They’ll just let him keep going until later in 2011. I’m not fully checked out on the minutiae of recess appointments, but presumably the President can make another recess appointment for Berwick during the next time that the Senate is in recess for long enough.

But that’s not really the point; the point is that it’s clear that one thing is true in the 112th Congress that was also true in the 111th. To wit: Democrats won’t fight. Oh, sure, when they have the votes they’re the toughest guys in the room, and will be happy to walk all over you: witness that ludicrous strutting over passage of Obamacare back in 2009. But the second that they don’t have a sure thing, Democratic politicians cave (see the defeat of the Obama tax hikes during the lame duck session). They cave – or, as we’re seeing in the states, Democratic politicians run away. Because Democratic politicians are cowards, from top to bottom. And here’s the fun part: we know it. Which is why those forty-two Senators sent the letter. Which is why Senate Democrats caved on the cuts in the current CR. Which is why they’ll break later on the budget. They just don’t know how to be brave and fight for their beliefs**.

Poor things.

Congress backstabs POTUS on recess appointments.

 Posted by Moe Lane (Profile)

Thursday, September 30th at 11:00AM EDT


It seems a bit odd that Senate Democrats have agreed to use a rules technicality to prohibit the President from making any recess appointments between now and the election – particularly since Senator Dick Durbin (D, IL) seemed to be suggesting earlier this week that a recess appointment for blocked OMB nominee Jacob Lew would be possible if the hold on his nomination was still active.  None the less, the prohibition is now in effect: and in exchange, the Republicans gave up…


No, really: as near as I can tell, we gave up nothing at all.  All the GOP had to do was threaten to throw some pending nominations back to the White House for resubmission, and the Democrats simply folded like a cheap suit; thus making it impossible for the President to do one of the few things that he can do to mollify his base right now.  This was pretty craven of Reid and his cadre; not that I’m objecting, but I was under the impression that the Democratic party controlled both the legislative and the executive branches of government these days. I mean, I’ll be expecting this gambit maybe next year (or maybe in 2013, or whenever is the next time where the GOP controls Congress but not the White House), but having it happen right now is a bit odd.  Very welcome, but odd.

Moe Lane (Crosspost)

If there are members of your own party who stand in the way, such as Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, then you also blast them and make them pay for acting so foolishly.

This president got rolled by the Senate over health care. His team made some boneheaded mistakes, and now they are paying for them. Continuing to play footsie with opponents will only get him into more trouble. He should set a deadline to have his folks confirmed. If not, appoint them all during the recess and go on about your business.

Obama’s critics keep blasting him for Chicago-style politics. So, fine. Channel your inner Al Capone and go gangsta against your foes. Let ’em know that if they aren’t with you, they are against you, and will pay the price.

See Roland Martin’s CNN article: