Justice Dept.: Obama recess appointments valid
January 12th, 2012
12:45 PM ET
2 years ago

Justice Dept.: Obama recess appointments valid

Washington (CNN) - The Justice Department Thursday made public its legal opinion that President Barack Obama's controversial recess appointments last week are constitutional.

In an internal opinion, the Justice Department said the president has the authority to make recess appointments during pro-forma Senate sessions in which no business is to be conducted.

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Filed under: Justice Department • President Obama
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. New Age Independent

    Rudy NYC "Of course, he can make recess appointments. Republicans are just whining over the fact that they failed to obstruct the President from appointing someone. Besides, what the Republicans are doing is borderline contempt for the oaths of office that they all swore."
    --
    So when Harry Reid, then Senate Majority Leader, kept the chamber in pro forma sessions at the end of the George W. Bush administration, he was wrong? Democrats seem to only want laws to apply when it helps them, and ignore them when they don't?

    Obama's appointment, is a clear violation of the Constitution. Article I, Section 5 clearly outlines when a recess occurs. Additionally, the House did not consent to the recess. Obama’s own Deputy Solicitor General argued in the Supreme Court in 2010 that Obama could not make a recess appointment unless the recess were longer than three days.

    The facts and the law here simply do not agree with you at all.

    January 12, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. Marcus

    Fair is Fair – Actually I trully hope that this stuff, 'recess appointments', ends up in a SCOTUS ruling.
    That way the validity of pro-forma 30 seconds long 'sessions' of the Senate will finally be adressed by the Justices...
    If that means less obstructionism for Obama's second term I am all for it!

    January 12, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. Gurgi

    You liberals are so fond of quoting your "facts." Here is one, regardless of what you say or think, you need to do your research, Obamas appointments are unconstitutional, fact! What should happen, is if you don't like the law, then change it, do not just ignore it because you think it does not apply to you. This is not the first time Obama has flouted the constitution, another example is telling holder not to defend DOMA, which is a law!! By all rights, Obama should have impeachment proceedings against him already. The only reason he does not is the democrats will throw the race card, as usual.

    January 12, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. MTATL67

    The appointments are legal. What the Congressmen keep referring to is Pro forma sessions and this is used so each chamber does not have to get permission from the other chamber to be on break. NOT to block Presidential appointments because of the Republican party’s obstructionist agenda. As Rep. Diane Black says "These appointments are an affront to the Constitution. No matter how you look at this, it doesn't pass the smell test. I hope the House considers my resolution as soon as we return to Washington so we can send a message to President Obama." If they were/are not on break then they should get back to Washington and work on the country’s business.

    January 12, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Truth somebody wrote:

    OK, but the extension of the payroll tax holiday was PASSED in one of these sessions! So is that law invalid because thes eare sham sessions? You can't have it both ways Rudy, though you always seem to try.
    -----------------
    Boehner's vote was valid. He used a special procedure to get business done *during* a recess. The Senate is basically doing the same thing, calling sessions to order without a quorom. But, they are not conducting any business. Technically, they were in recess. Besides, the Republicans *forgot* to sustain their filibuster. Technically, they dropped it. You lose.

    January 12, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    One wonders how the Bill Clinton Justice Dept. can issue a ruling that this is not Constitutional in 1993 and yet the well-known incompetent Holder Justice Dept. can say the exact opposite.

    So which Democratic Justice Dept. is lying to us???? My money is on the leftist Obama cabal.

    January 12, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Gurgi

    A tidbit liberals are forgetting is though Bush did make recess appointments, he did not make any when the democrats pulled this same procedure on him. Get the difference??? At least Bush followed the constitution whereas Obama flouts it time and again, telling Holder not to defend DOMA, for instance, which is a law!

    January 12, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Of course this will be overturned in court."

    If it is, I'll bet you $10,000 of Mittens' money that it's a 5-4 vote in the SCOTUS...AND, I'll even double it if Scalia manages to vote as a partisan conservative without contradicting past precedent that he himself has set.

    January 12, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. Independent Voters

    Stop complaining and let the president do his job. Bush made over 170 recess appt and president Obama made 18 so get a grip.

    January 12, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Fair is Fair

    "If it is, I'll bet you $10,000 of Mittens' money that it's a 5-4 vote in the SCOTUS"
    ----–
    Sucker bet. Saying something will be voted 5-4 in the SCOTUS is like saying water is wet or Rudy is a spin doctor.

    January 12, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "Sucker bet. Saying something will be voted 5-4 in the SCOTUS is like saying water is wet or Rudy is a spin doctor."

    That's why I sweetened the pot by doubling it if Scalia magically manages to display intellectual honesty and consistency.

    January 12, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Reeiping it Real

    In 2005, Senator Obama said Bush’s recess appointments were “the wrong thing to do,” to appoint people who “couldn’t get through a Senate nomination.”

    And Democrat Senator Harry Reid (2005): “I will keep the Senate in pro forma session to block (President Bush) from doing an end run around the Senate and Constitution with his controversial nominations.” The Democrat leadership declared that Bush’s recess appointments were “an abuse of presidential power” that “ignored the will of the Senate.”

    January 12, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "One wonders how the Bill Clinton Justice Dept. can issue a ruling that this is not Constitutional in 1993"

    The Justice Dept's arguments in Mackie v. Clinton cannot even remotely be interpreted that way.

    January 12, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Marcus

    Gurgi – Can you please stop naming the Republicans in the Congress 'incompetents'?
    Imagine if there was one iota that, despite all confusion that it would create, a valid case of impeachment was possible against Barack Obama, do you honestly think that the procedures would not have started by now?
    Or that at least the discussion about it would not be in full motion?
    (R)s are still fighting for the validity of Section III of DOMA, in courts too, but they cannot use it BECAUSE IT FALLS IN THE DISCRITIONARITY OF THE POTUS!!!
    He cannot stops to uphold it, but he can (as he is) stop defending it.

    January 12, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "A tidbit liberals are forgetting is though Bush did make recess appointments, he did not make any when the democrats pulled this same procedure on him. Get the difference???"

    Yes, we do. Dems didn't "pull this procedure" with anywhere near the pervasive governmnent-breaking frequency or duration as the GOP has done to Obama. They've set by far and away the highest records for number of appointments prevented by filibuster or secret hold, length of delay and number of positions they've forced to remain unfilled such that the efficacy, efficiency and even the existence of agency/department in question is threatened.

    January 12, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    In fact, one would think the GOPers/Teatrolls would be smart enough not to push this issue too far, becuase the further we dig into it, the more widely apparent and understood it is going to become that the GOP/Teatroll abuse of the confirmation process during Obama's first term provides the single best piece of evidence that GOP/Teatroll strategy really is to break the government in order to prove it is broken.

    January 12, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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