Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he’s going to recommend the White House make recess appointments of 90 nominees if the Republicans don’t cooperate with him on confirmation through the Senate’s constitutional “advice and consent” requirement.
[The President] 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, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law. . . 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. (Art. 2, Sec. 2).
Recess appointments were made in the days when transportation to Washington was limited, expensive, and grueling. Today, recess appointments are made when the majority in the Senate either block or refuse to vote on nominees. There are no transportation obstacles for the president to wait on the “advice and consent” of the Senate. The President can wait a weekend or even a month. In fact, given the bloated nature of our government, we probably don’t need any of these appointments.
Both parties are involved in the unconstitutional practice. “According to the Congressional Research Service, President Bill Clinton made 139 recess appointments. President George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments, and as of January 5, 2012, President Barack Obama had made 32 recess appointments.”
Because one side is allowed to do, it allows the other side to do it. Balance of power and checks and balances are largely forgotten by both parties. One side winks as the other violates the Constitution only for the other side to wink and protest when they’re out of power.
Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican of Utah, is warning that the 90 recess appointments could relegate the Senate’s Constitutional ‘advise [sic] and consent’ obligation null and void.” What a joke. It’s been an irrelevant constitutional restriction for decades. Both parties violate it.
The controversy is loaded with partisan rhetoric and chest pounding on both sides. It is the common lament of academics that the concern over the faithful interpretation of the Constitution arises only when it is politically expedient. . . . Many members who were silent during the recess appointments of George W. Bush have become vocal opponents of the practice under Obama. Conversely, Democrats who now stand silent once cried foul when Bush used recess appointments to circumvent significant opposition to nominees, such as John Bolton to the United Nations.