Justice Dept.: Obama recess appointments valid
January 12th, 2012
12:45 PM ET
3 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. 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.

    The filibuster against the consumer finance protection nominee has been ideologically driven from the start. Republicans are not opposing the nominee. Their leaders are on record as stating that they are opposed to the law itself, and are trying to prevent its' enactment. They are acting like sour, losing brats, which is exactly what we do not need in Congress.

    January 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The hypocrisy is that Bush, the child, made 5 times as many recess appointments. More outrage from foreign owned media, Fox, will be coming from Hanoi Hannity.

    January 12, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Kay2012

    Of course the Justice Department is going to justify Obama making mid-term appointments, they are totally in the bag with the administration, they will say whatever he wants them to!

    January 12, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Obama's justice department said Obama can do what he wants? Now there's a shocker.

    January 12, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. Al-NY,NY

    he has the right, just like every other President has in the past...including Duh Duh Duh-bya hundreds of appointments. I didn't hear any squealing from the tightie righties then

    January 12, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Would we expect anything else from the incompetent Eric Holder Justice Dept., the ones that think it OK to sell firearms to Mexican cartels that target American law enforcement? Yes, the decision that his boss can do anything he wants, including violating the US Constitution is yet one more reason all these leftists need to get thrown out in November.

    January 12, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. R.C.

    Uh oh, why does that sound bad?

    January 12, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    I can hardly wait to hear the Democrats applaud President Romney when he makes weekend recess appointments on a regular basis. Yes, I can hardly wait....

    January 12, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Do as I say not as I do is the republican mantra. Those congressional republicans are just upset Mr. Cordray is now on the job. Good! Let's get that Consumer Protection Agency up and running.

    January 12, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Fair is Fair

    Rudy says "Of course, he can make recess appointments."
    ------
    Sure he can – except there's that pesky little detail that the congress was not in recess. Seee ya in court.

    January 12, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Bill

    The stonewalling GOP/teavangelicals won't let anything happen so the president uses whatever means are left to him. The're miffed that he had the guts to find a way to get things done. Too bad. They need to grow up and learn how politics works ...based on quid pro quo's and backroom deals...the American way from the very start!

    January 12, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Wire Palladin, S. F. observed:

    The hypocrisy is that Bush, the child, made 5 times as many recess appointments. More outrage from foreign owned media, Fox, will be coming from Hanoi Hannity.
    ---------------------
    You didn't mention that Daddy and Reagan both did the same thing. You also didn't mention that most of their appointments were for people who were never presented to the Congress. You just woke up one day and suddenly, without warning, some person is holding a previously unfilled position that is supposed to be approved by the Congress.

    January 12, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Mikey

    @Truth – so you think the 30 recess appointment that President Obama has made are illegal or unconstitutional? How about the 130 or so that Clinton did? How about the approximately 100 that George HW Bush did? What about the 180 or so that George W Bush did? Or the 240 that Ronald Reagan did? What a joke.

    Oh, and by the way, those firearms sales started in 2006, under the Bush Administration. The Obama Justice Department just continued what had been done under a GOP Administration. Truth, Lies and Incredible Hypocrisy.

    January 12, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Bill - The stonewalling GOP/teavangelicals won't let anything happen so the president uses whatever means are left to him.
    =========================================================================================
    Yes, like violating the US Constitution. But he and the Democrats have already shown contempt for it with their horrendous Obamacare mandate. To them the US Constitution is something to disregard and circumvent after they have sworn ot uphold it. This is what happens when you put leftists in charge of the US government. LAWLESSNESS.

    November can't get here fast enough. This country truly is in danger with Obama in the Whitehouse.

    January 12, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Sure he can – except there's that pesky little detail that the congress was not in recess. Seee ya in court.
    -----------------
    Sorry. Spending literally 30 seconds to call a session to order so that you can adjourn it for the next several days so that you can do it all over again qualifies as a recess when a quorom of the members are not in even in town while these sham sessions are being held.

    Remember that procedure that Boehner used to conduct a vote just before XMAS? The House was *in recess* and a majority of the members were not in town. Yet, he called the House to *order* and conducted his vote. Besides, you are forgetting all about the ace up the President's sleeve. No Republicans was there to filibuster the appointment during the 30 second session.

    January 12, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. Scott

    Of course this will be overturned in court. What the DOJ says means nothing as it is corrupt like the Obama Adminstration.

    January 12, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    Rudy, mistakenly again, says:

    "Besides, you are forgetting all about the ace up the President's sleeve. No Republicans was there to filibuster the appointment during the 30 second session."
    -------
    The senate can not and does not fillibuster recess appointments. They fillibuster nominations. Got anything else?

    January 12, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    I find it odd that the Democrats are already back to work, but Boehner and his buddies are still in South America vacationing (or maybe looking for soul-mates - who knows).

    I understand they WILL be back to work 1 day in January.

    Nice vacation, don't you think?

    January 12, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. MTATL67

    The appointments are legal. What the Congressmen are 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 Republicans 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."

    January 12, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Emperor Norton

    I really don't see how this is a discussion at all.

    – Obama has the right to make recess appointments, which has been exercised at length by all his predecessors in recent memory.
    – The House has been holding 30-second sessions for the sake of claiming they're not in recess.
    – Obama made a recess appointment anyway.
    – They cry bloody murder.

    They tried to pull off a pretty slimy trick and they've been caught at it, so now they try to paint Obama as some kind of would-be king to deflect attention from their own obstructionism. The only reason why I can see you'd want to side with the House on this is if you're already inclined to think the worst of Obama.

    January 12, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Rudy NYC - Sorry. Spending literally 30 seconds to call a session to order so that you can adjourn it for the next several days so that you can do it all over again qualifies as a recess when a quorom of the members are not in even in town while these sham sessions are being held.
    =========================================================================================
    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.

    January 12, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. jon

    We now have one of the biggest law breakers in the country living in the White House and his do-boy has his rubber stamp in hand at all times

    January 12, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. jon

    Rubber stamping lawlessness since 2008

    January 12, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    ""Besides, you are forgetting all about the ace up the President's sleeve. No Republicans was there to filibuster the appointment during the 30 second session."
    ---
    The senate can not and does not fillibuster recess appointments. They fillibuster nominations. Got anything else?"

    First, Captain Semantics, the Senate cannot filibuster the nomination. The POTUS makes the nomination...poof...nomination complete. What the Senate fillibusters is the confirmation. Second, I thought I read that most of the hold ups are via abuse of the secret hold process, which allows ONE senator to anonymously put a hold on the confirmation of a nominee...but I could be wrong on that part.

    January 12, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    The senate can not and does not fillibuster recess appointments. They fillibuster nominations. Got anything else?
    ----------------
    The President cannot make appointments that are being filibustered. The Republicans dropped the ball. They stopped their filibuster, so now they are madder than dropped hornets nest. Even McConnell turned orange.

    January 12, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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