Were Obama’s Recess Appointments constitutional?

Constitutional Attorney David Rivkin to speak at American Enterprise Institute

Published on 14 January 2012

by Staff

(OfficialWire)

Washington, D.C. (USA)
OfficialWire PR News Bureau

The 2012 election year has just begun, and already controversies have swirled around a number of President Obama’s actions. Constitutional issues are at the forefront as the president seeks to improve his chances of reelection by delivering on his promises. But is the president violating the Constitution as he tries to implement his program of transformation? Constitutional attorney David Rivkin believes he is. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington D.C. will be facilitating a discussion on one of the recent controversies, President Obama’s “recess appointments.”

On January 4, 2012, President Obama made the following appointments: Richard Cordray as Director of the CFPB; and Richard Griffin, Jr., Sharon Block, and Terence F. Flynn as members of the NLRB. At the time of the appointments, the Senate was holding a series of “pro forma” sessions. The U.S. Department of Justice claims that the President has the authority to make these appointments, in essence, to decide based on his own analysis about when Congress is in session. David Rivkin and other constitutional law experts disagree.

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President’s “Recess” Appointments unconstitutional, David Rivkin testifies

On January 4, 2012, President Obama made the following “recess” appointments: Richard Cordray as Director of the CFPB and Richard Griffin, Jr., Sharon Block, and Terence F. Flynn as members of the NLRB. At the time of the appointments, the Senate was holding a series of “pro forma” sessions. While the U.S. Department of Justice claims that the President has the authority to make these appointments, in essence, to decide for himself when Congress is in session, David Rivkin and other constitutional law experts disagree.

“The Constitution allows the President to make recess appointments only when the Senate is in recess; it does not guarantee him the right to make one or more of such appointments,” says Rivkin in his written testimony.

According to RIvkin, the Office of Legal Counsel “takes what was meant and written as a gap-filler or safety valve — what to do when the Senate is out-of-town and unable to confirm a nominee to a vital position — and converts it into an affirmative grant of power that guarantees the President the right to make some number of appointments without the Senate’s approval.” This will weaken Congress’ power.

Watch and discuss David Rivkin’s testimony before CA Rep. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the Committee of Oversight & Government Reform.

 

David Rivkin debates how the U.S. treats its terror suspects

Constitutional defender and appellate attorney David Rivkin debates Vincent Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights on the tenth anniversary of Guantanamo, how the U.S. treats its terror suspects, the U.S. Justice paradigm, and current legislation. “For the first time Congress has explicitly put its stamp of approval on what here to for has been done either based upon indirect congressional support and authorization to use military force, executive branch practices and judicial decisions.” – David Rivkin on not seeing the legislation as “new.”

 

Obama’s reckless recess ploy

No president has resorted to recess appointments when Congress is in session. Expect serious legal challenges to new financial regulations.

By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey

President Obama’s appointments of Richard Cordray as head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and of three new members of the National Labor Relations Board, are all unconstitutional.

Each of these jobs requires Senate confirmation. The president’s ability to fill them without that confirmation, using his constitutional power to “fill up vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate,” depends upon there actually being a recess. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are open for business. The new appointees can pocket their government paychecks, but all their official acts will be void as a matter of law and will likely be struck down by the courts in legal challenges that are certain to come.

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Is Newt Gingrich right about abolishing courts?

(from WSJ.comDecember 20, 2011)

Opinion Journal: Editorial board member Jason Riley interviews David Rivkin

WSJ: I wanted to talk to you about Newt Gingrich’s attacks on the judiciary.  He wants to subpoena judges to appear before Congress and explain their decisions, he wants to shut down entirely some appellate courts, and he says the executive branch should be free to ignore judicial decisions.  What’s your reaction to this rhetoric?

David Rivkin: Not a good one. Strong medicine, but the cure is worse than the disease. Let me say that judicial activism, defined as judges not construing the statutes in the Constitution in accordance with its original meaning, is a real problem.”

It’s been a problem, certainly going back to the 1980s. It was one of the pivotal points of Reagan’s elections in ‘80 and ’84, [and] a standard tenet of all of the Republican candidates. But the  proper cure is slow and steady: appoint good judges, fight to get them through the Senate, and, frankly, wage a public debate about the proper role of judges–delegitimize legislating from the bench.

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