The following is a guest post by Joseph Hall.
Senate Pursues Law Suit against Obama over Questionable Recess Appointments
President Obama decided to ignore standard protocol in January 2012 by making several recess appointments while Congress was still technically in session. As a US senator, Obama openly stated that if President Bush attempted to make such appointments, he would be in the wrong. However, he quietly ignored his own argument, thus reversing himself, by making several appointments when he found it to be politically expedient.
In an election year, appointing three members to the NLRB appeared to be a strong signal to union leadership that he is in control. Since then, senate Republicans have explored their options, and have now hired a lawyer to lead the lawsuit against Obama, alleging abuse of power when he bypassed the balance of powers guarantee of the US Constitution.
This choice of action was reported by Breitbart.com, in “REPUBLICANS SUE OBAMA OVER RECESS APPOINTMENTS,”
Today, Senate Republicans hired Miguel Estrada, the 2002 judicial nominee for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals filibustered by Senate Democrats, to press a lawsuit against the Obama administration. The lawsuit itself is based on President Obama’s non-recess “recess appointment” of political allies to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which oversees management-union relations; it was originally filed by Noel Canning, a soft-drink business owner who sued the NLRB over its ruling that the company had to work with a labor union.
If Obama did not make three appointments to the NLRB in January, the board would have shut down due to procedural law; there would not be enough members to make a quorum.
The Washington Examiner includes additional information, “GOP senators sue Obama over sham labor board nominees,” (Paul Bedard)
“The president’s decision to circumvent the American people by installing his appointees at a powerful federal agency, when the Senate was not in recess, and without obtaining the advice and consent of the Senate, is an unprecedented power grab,” McConnell said. “We will demonstrate to the court how the president’s unconstitutional actions fundamentally endanger the Congress’s role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch.”
The fight is over a simple issue: When is the Senate technically in session. The GOP argues that there was enough action over the holidays to determine that the chamber was in session, but the president disagreed and went ahead with the appointments.
Additionally, Obama made an even more sinister appointment. He appointed the head of a new federal consumer protection agency (CFPB), thereby creating another huge government entity that potentially circumvents states’ rights to oversee consumer protection issues.
What is the CFPB, and what are the concerns of this agency? Heritage Foundation published the following, “Consumers Need Protection from Consumer Protection Bureau,” (Diane Katz)
Spawned by the vast Dodd–Frank financial regulation statute, the CFPB enjoys sweeping powers over all manner of consumer credit, including consolidated and expanded authority over consumer financial products and services previously wielded by seven federal agencies. We’re talking credit and debit cards, mortgages, student loans, savings and checking accounts, and more.
(None of which had anything to do with the financial crisis, by the way. But that didn’t prevent Messrs. Dodd and Frank from exploiting the recession for regulatory gain. If anything, the bureau’s meddling will make financial products and services harder to obtain and more expensive to use.)
Fortunately, the bureau is statutorily barred from imposing new regulations until a director is confirmed. And that’s the very leverage that bureau critics are relying upon to force a restructuring. Although the Senate banking committee approved Cordray’s nomination in October, a contingent of Republicans has wisely pledged to oppose any nominee until the bureau’s autonomy is curtailed.
The problem is that the CFPB is ensconced within the Federal Reserve. Therefore, its budget is not subject to congressional control. The bureau’s status within the Fed also effectively precludes presidential oversight.
Additionally, the agency could not function until the director was chosen by the president. The devious nature of this agency is that it cannot be overseen by congress; it is now embedded within the US Federal Reserve system. This is an agency that is not congressionally funded, and beyond the reach of congressional oversight.
If the recess appointments are judged to be illegal, the CFPB should be immediately shut down and disbanded until so authorized by the US Senate. Otherwise, Obama would have proven that breaking the law is justifiable and the senate’s role in this situation can be trivialized by a devious leader. This is another example of Obama’s war on congress and the American people.
Submitted by: Joseph Hall