January 5, 2012

“Reid Backs Obama on Recess Appointments”

This is the same Reid who relied on the constitutionality of non-recess procedural rules to block Bush appointments, back when he needed to assert their constitutionality to get done what he wanted to get done.

Constitutionality that shifts depending on the party in power, or that shifts depending upon the current context, deconstructs the very idea of a foundational, grounding document around which the rule of law derives its power.

If the law can be changed depending on the circumstances, it isn’t a law. It’s an impotent placeholder intended to give the appearance of a rule of law.

Andrew McCarthy, NRO:

In 2007, Reid kept the senate in pro forma session in order to block President Bush from making recess appointments — particularly, the eminently qualified Steve Bradbury’s appointment to head DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. “I had to keep the Senate in pro forma session to block the Bradbury appointment,” Reid recounted in 2008. “That necessarily meant no recess appointments could be made.

The Senate has similarly been holding pro forma sessions over the current holiday recess to keep the session technically ongoing, thus blocking — or at least they thought they were blocking — Obama, just as Bush was blocked. But Obama ignored the move, reasoning that such brief sessions (held roughly every three days and lasting only seconds) should not count. Despite the position he took during the Bush years, Reid today said, “I support President Obama’s decision.” His rationale, if you can call it that, is that while he was just trying to block recess appointments, Republicans are blocking such appointments for the specific purpose of re-legislating the Dodd-Frank law.

The theory of separation of powers is that the respective branches have a powerful incentive to protect their turf and will therefore police each other’s encroachments. Apparently … not so much. In any event, since the president is in the hardball business, he can only be stopped (or at least discouraged) if Congress uses its constitutional tools in kind. It is worth remembering that the government cannot function if the House declines to raise and spend money, and Obama cannot get anyone appointed from here on out unless the Senate, once it is in session, can muster 60 votes. So my question is: are Republicans just going to grouse about this, or are they actually going to do something about it?

As Mark Levin noted, we are in the midst of a Constitutional Crisis. Yet we have hamstrung ourselves by giving leftist ideologues the controlling power over the Senate and, by way of the President, the Justice Department.

Which raises the question: what does a citizen do to protect his liberties if impeachment is off the table, save finding standing and bringing suit against the governmental agencies themselves? Because as Boehner and McConnell have shown repeatedly, they don’t have the political will to fight back.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:57am

Comments (27)

  1. Oh, that was different when Harry did it! Because SHUT UP!!!

  2. Somewhere or other I saw Scott Brown has gotten out front applauding Cordray’s appointment. Disgust doesn’t cover the wave of nausea I felt to see that.

  3. Although no longer in a leadership position, the Botox Queen took her turn wiping her ass with the Constitution…

  4. This is the hill to die on. Not nearly as scary as “The Criticizing Historic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama Hill”, but it’s THE HILL now.

  5. I wonder what percentage of the citizenry know this (this thing, specifically) is happening. Of that group, what percentage knows it verboten?

    I don’t feel particularly confident about either number.

  6. all that is Mr. sdferr is the next time we make a bullshit please-to-ignore constitution Scott Brown wants to be the centerfold

  7. The GOP are the pigeons, and Obama is the coup. So to speak.

  8. Hey now. If they said something people might think they were mean.

  9. Not to mention RAAAAACIST!

  10. So my question is: are Republicans just going to grouse about this, or are they actually going to do something about it?

    I thought our working concept was that Republicans are happy to let this stand, since they’re pretty confident that they’ll be at the reins a year from now. I mean, sure, some of them are too cowed or stupid or short-sighted to understand what’s going on, but the real power players know exactly what’s going on, and they’re sitting around the clubroom drinking Scotch, laughing and thanking the Proggs for doing the heavy lifting for them.

    I just don’t see any of this ending well.

  11. The Constitution? That moldy old thing has been around for over 100 years.

    To claim it’s relevant these days is foolish.

  12. When I was a kid one could go to a place like Williamsburg, Mount Vernon or Independence Hall at Philadelphia and buy mock ups of ancient documents that had a distinctive musky smell (value added!) to them. Dunno if such things are still sold at those (oddly venerated) sites today?

  13. I have one of those copies of the Declaration in a frame upstairs. Bought it at Independence Hall, I did, about 15 years ago.

  14. So, by happenstance, I just watched a documentary titled The Art of the Steal dealing with the Barnes foundation.

    Basically, this private art collector set up a trust and foundation to make sure his desires for his collection are followed. After he dies, a series of almost Randian villians challenge the clear and plain language of his trust and take over.

    By chance, one of the villians is Walter Annenburg.

    Constitution, legal trusts, bondholders… they just hate the rule of law if it means they can’t get their way. Fucking fascists.

  15. I do recommend the documentary, btw. It’s one of those Waiting for Superman type movies that could make a convertible leftist squirm uncomfortable for an hour and a half.

  16. My wife loved the Barnes (and I’m still filled with regret I didn’t go to see it). So at her behest, I watched for a time as the machinations were under course in the courts. Quit paying attention at all, once I left Philly. Lincoln University, or its board of governors, was holding the spear, wasn’t it?

  17. Sorry to go on about it but here’s Roger Ebert, noted Obama voter, speaking about the central issue in his review:

    It is perfectly clear exactly what Barnes specified in his will. It was drawn up by the best legal minds. It is clear that what happened to his collection was against his wishes. It is clear that the city fathers acted in obviation of those wishes, and were upheld in a court of appeals. What is finally clear: It doesn’t matter a damn what your will says if you have $25 billion, and politicians and the establishment want it.

    How can a mind grasp this but then not other perfectly synonymous things?

  18. Yep, sdferr, but then they were paid off by the Pew Charitable Trust.

  19. I thought it was generally understood that all foundations exist not for the purposes for which they were founded but for the enrichment and power of the elites from the best of the schools who are hired to run them. They join the Unions, and the Academe, to name two, in having this function de facto while giving a little lip service to the de jure.

    In their present actions the leadership of the Democrats have stopped the lip service and are pushing for the de facto to become the de jure.

  20. Jeff,

    In regards to your questions, I reckon all we can hope for is that the conservatives take over the Replublican Party.

    A tall order.

  21. A tall order indeed. I have my doubts, but I’m going to give it one more shot. After that, all bets are off.

  22. All safeties too UYKWIMAITYD

  23. Greenspan seems to think that it has already happened/happening.

    A political tsunami has emerged out of our past in the form of the Tea Party, with its ethos reminiscent of rugged individualism and self-reliance,” Greenspan writes in a Financial Times op-ed piece.

    The tea party “has so altered the distribution of votes within Republican Party’s House caucus that the party’s center has moved closer to the tea party.”

    Compromise must ensue eventually, and that will likely include reform to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, programs that have expanded without funding to match.

    “The only viable long-term solution appears to be a shift in federal entitlements programs to defined contribution status,” Greenspan writes.

  24. Soapbox. Ballot Box. Jury box. Cartridge Box.

  25. Jack in the box! Juice box!

  26. The Constitution is dead, and has been for a long time. All we can do now is tear down the facade.