Obama's 'Abuse of Power' Argument on Recess Appointments


"As a matter of cold, unadorned logic, it makes no sense to adopt the [administration's} proposition that when the Framers said "the Recess," what they really meant was "a recess." This is not an insignificant distinction. In the end it makes all the difference."

It seems simple. But today's ruling conflicts with several other appeals court rulings touching on the same subject from around the country. And it contradicts the practice of more than half of the American presidents. This one is sure to head to the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Republicans in the Senate once again have the upper hand in the struggle over the balance of power between labor and business on the NLRB.

And one more thing: perhaps now senators might be able to bring to an end what is one of the weirdest of all Washington rituals: The 30-second session, when the Senate is gaveled in and out of order by one member in an empty chamber—just to say they were there, "conducting business," so the president can't make a "recess" appointment. Even on the day Washington was struck by an earthquake in 2011, and the Capitol evacuated, the Senate came to order for 22 seconds, one senator present, in a conference room in the basement of the Postal Square building next to Union Station.

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