The Administration’s Hubris Knows No Bounds

Recess appointments are, in and of themselves, constitutionally dubious.  But at least prior administrations have had the decency to make such appointments when Congress actually was in recess.  This administration doesn’t even bother with such quaint formalities.

White House attorneys have concluded they have the legal authority to make a recess appointment despite Republican efforts to block the move, Democrats said Tuesday, and administration officials say they reserve the option to install Richard Cordray as head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without Senate approval.

Some expect that appointment to come as early as Wednesday, when PresidentBarack Obama goes to Mr. Cordray’s home state of Ohio to talk about the economy. He’ll be at Shaker Heights High School outside Cleveland.

Mr. Cordray’s nomination has stalled in the Senate due to opposition from Republicans, who say they will not confirm anyone to the post until changes are made to the bureau’s structure. Mr. Obama and his aides have signaled for weeks that he would use his authority to bypass the Senate by giving Mr. Cordray, former Ohio attorney general, a recess appointment. Last month, the Senate voted 53-45 to take up the Cordray nomination, falling short of the 60 votes needed to move ahead.

Senate Republicans have tried to prevent the White House from acting by keeping the Senate technically in “pro forma” session until senators return to Washington later this month.

One way around the GOP maneuvering would have been for the White House to appoint Mr. Cordray during the short window in between congressional sessions. That window was open Tuesday morning, and some expected Mr. Obama to act then. But he didn’t, and administration officials maintained that they still have all options on the table.

That’s because the White House has concluded that it can make the appointment even if the Senate has not formally recessed, said one Democrat familiar with White House thinking. “They have decided no one can stop them.”

Sadly, as infuriating as that last part is, will anyone really bother to stop them?

The fact that Obama eschewed an opportunity to make a legitimate recess appointment today in favor of this grandstanding gesture indicates that he’s basically just taunting Congress now.  As Drew M points out, this is nothing more than a political ploy.

Obama would love it if the GOP House actually tried to impeach him. Failing that, his sticking it to the GOP will please his base.

The challenge for the GOP in Congress will be to fight enough to please the base and check Obama but not give him the mud slinging fight he wants/needs. I doubt it’s something they will be able to pull off.

Ultimately this is the small ball politics Obama will have to play since he can’t actually run on his record. And if has to shred the Constitution in the process? What’s the Constitution compared to a God Who Walks Amongst Us?

Remember how the left cried about Bush “shredding” the Constitution?  Crocodile tears.

15 Responses to The Administration’s Hubris Knows No Bounds

  • RR says:

    Every other report I’ve read said that Congress didn’t recess. Please cite or correct.

    Also, there is legally certain length of time that counts as a recess. Longer than 3 days is a recess. Shorter hasn’t been tested. Obama is testing it not. It is unprecedented but not necessarily illegal.

  • T. Shaw says:

    “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.” Albert Camus

    From Instapundit posts:

    Cordray recess appointment: “Not only is Obama trampling precedent that says recess appointments are to be done only after the Senate has been out of session for 10 days or more, he’s also trying to circumvent legislation.”

    Leaving aside the constitutional questions, there is a potential statutory problem with the legality of the Cordray appointment under Dodd-Frank, which created this CFPB: unaccountable progressive, activist monster. Section 1066 of Dodd-Frank provides that the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to perform the functions of the CFPB under the subtitle transferring authority to the CFPB from the other agencies “until the Director of the Bureau is confirmed by the Senate in accordance with Section 1011.” It turns out that section 1011 is a defined term which provides: “The Director shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

    This seems to suggest that even if the President might be able to appoint Cordray under the recess power the full grant of statutory authority wouldn’t transfer to the Bureau unless the statutory language was fulfilled as well.

    Does Obama need a Constitutional crisis to distract you from high unemployment, and skyrocketing food/fuel prices?

  • Paul Zummo says:

    Does Obama need a Constitutional crisis to distract you from high unemployment, and skyrocketing food/fuel prices?

    That, or simply a fight over what most of the public views as a rather mundane inter-branch squabble. It’s rather a genius ploy. Try to trap the GOP into making a fuss over it, all the while flexing his muscles and showing that a pesky thing like the Constitution is of no concern to him.

  • RR says:

    I’m not 100% sure this is possible but I think the most democracy way to go about this would’ve been for Reid to invoke the nuclear option and get an up-or-down vote in the Senate. If that option was possible but not pursued, it could only have been because Democratic Senators didn’t want to take the political hit. Obama provided cover for them.

  • darkessence says:

    Obama may feel desperate in accomplishing his political ministry. But as memebers of the body of Christ we should assist the person desperate of not, who champions the empowerment of people who voices are not heard and who are in need. This should be our ministry as Christians and Catholics.

  • T. Shaw says:

    “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.” Albert Camus

    Note to Camus: Mon ami, you need to add more specific alibis: charity, justice, peace, political ministry, . . .

    Elizabeth Warren, prima class warrior princess, personally set up the CFPB to end “greedy” bankers’ “pounding on working class Americans”, direct quote.

    SOP for commies: manufacture crisis, seize power/property.

    In the run-up to the Great Recession, the gov and government sponsored enterprises managed to increase the US home ownership rate from 64% to 69%. The current economic malaise is the result of gov skewing the markets (capitalism) and misallocating resources.

    They say they need CFPB because CRA, HMDA, FDIC, Fed, FHLMC, FNMA, GNMA, VA, HUD, FHA, et al did not sufficiently empower people whose voices are not heard.

    Truth: Obama needs CFPB to get $400 million more a year to back-door fund his power base.

  • PM says:

    @ 5:51 am
    “Obama may feel desperate in accomplishing his political ministry. But as memebers of the body of Christ we should assist the person desperate of not, who champions the empowerment of people who voices are not heard and who are in need. This should be our ministry as Christians and Catholics.”

    Uh huh. Just that there seems to be such a selective empowerment of the desperate “political ministry”, “who champions the empowerment of people who voices are not heard and who are in need.”

    What about the aborted voices that he may hear in eternity and voices from the March for Life, (part of “our ministry as Christians and Catholics.”) upcoming soon to a place near the “political ministry”? On that day, will the political ministers close their window curtains or have lunch out of town? Will the MSM report on it?

    What about championing the empowerment of virtues for those not heard and in need by example.

  • T. Shaw says:

    @ 5:51 am
    “Obama may feel desperate in accomplishing his political ministry.”

    What PM wrote.

    Plus, the Obama regime spread around among its base $5 trillion more than was taken from the people in US Federal taxes. How desperate could he be?

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