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Harry Reid
One thing blunts the Supreme Court's decision to curtail a president's recess powers. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid points it out:
Harry Reid on SCOTUS NLRB ruling: "€œMore than anything, [it] underscores the importance of the rules reform Senate Dems enacted last Nov."
Because the Senate Democrats finally enacted filibuster reform, breaking the 60-vote margin for the president's judicial and executive nominations, this ruling won't prevent the president from getting his nominees confirmed. It means that he won't have to resort to making recess appointments to get a nomination done. That's the case, anyway, as long as the president and the Senate majority are of the same party and a simple majority vote can prevail. And it's the case as long as this Senate rules change remains in place.

The Court's ruling strongly upholds the separation of powers: the ability for the houses of Congress to determine things like when they are in session and when they are not. One of the powers of the Congress is to determine its own rules, which the Senate did last year when it passed filibuster reform to break the stranglehold the minority Republicans had on President Obama's nominees.

This decision should empower Senate Democrats to make use of their singular ability to stop the minority from totally gumming up the works. They've done it once, which makes this decision less damaging than it could have been. They can do it again, and expand the ability of the majority—the people that the majority of voters elected to run things—to make the Senate function again.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 09:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (32+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 09:43:29 AM PDT

  •  We also need laws, or an amendment (8+ / 0-)

    allowing the president to appoint someone in the event that the senate fails to either confirm or reject a given nomination within a reasonable amount of time. The senate shouldn't have its own pocket veto.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 10:25:02 AM PDT

    •  We need expedited confirmation of appointments (5+ / 0-)

      That’s all fine and well. But what we need right now – what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must do immediately – is to fast-track the confirmation of every single Presidential appointment.

      How many judges have yet to be confirmed?
      How many other appointments await confirmation?

      And President Obama needs to fill every vacant judicial position. NOW!!

      “The meaning of life is to find it.”

      by ArcticStones on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 11:15:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That only works when the same party (0+ / 0-)

        hold the senate & WH, as Dems do now. When it doesn't, adversarial partisanship blocks confirmations, these days more than ever.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 02:18:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why not? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If the Executive has a pocket veto, why shouldn't the Legislature?

      It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

      by Rich in PA on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 11:23:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Different some how. (0+ / 0-)

        The GOPers in the Senate seem to be somewhat conflicted: they'll stall or filibuster an appointment and then join a nearly unanimous Senate in approving the nomination.  

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
        "Shared sacrifice!" said the spider to the fly.—Me

        by KingBolete on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 11:58:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Because the presidential pocket veto (0+ / 0-)

        only take 10 days or so to go into effect and is mandated by the constitution. The senate has no such constitutional power and it can last for months, even years. That's a recipe for disaster. It's an ungranted power that's abused.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 02:20:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's a reason Scalia went apeshit over this. (5+ / 0-)

    1. Noel Caning legitimized intra-session recess appointments.

    2. Noel canning legitimized recess appointments to vacancies that occurred before the recess

    3. Noel Canning defines a "session" of the Senate as one at which it is authorized to conduct business under it's own rules. This a pro-forma session is a "session" so long as there is a unanimous consent to operate. If a Senator objects to the absence of a quorum, the fiction that it is in "session" is blown up.

    4. If the Senate and the House disagree respecting the time of an adjournment, the President has the power under Article II, sec 3 to step in and force the Congress into recess until such time as he thinks proper. They could, of course, agree and come back into session on their own. But this is an important point because neither the Senate nor the House can go out of session for more than3 days without the other's consent. So, if they fail to agree then the President can settle the issue. He can then adjourn the Congress for, say, 11 days and then make recess appointments.

    So long as the President's party controls the Senate, than this is no real limitation on the President at all.

    •  You're assuming rationality (0+ / 0-)

      and a Senate that doesn't want to be led around by the nose.

      222 house republicans support the Ryan budget that would convert Medicare to a premium-support program. In other words, they want to repeal Medicare and replace it with a system that works just like Obamacare.

      by happymisanthropy on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 04:09:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yabbut what happens when Prez has minority? (0+ / 0-)

    Senate can prevent any appointments forever.

  •  No longer the majority of the people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    if the Senate switches to Republican control. The sparsely populated red states have equal representation with New York or California there.

    Allowing majority control in the Senate unfortunately has the potential to deprive the majority of voters of any voice whatsoever.

    The situation had become intolerable, and Reid did the right thing. But he has opened Pandora's box. We may be left with her faint consolation - the last contents of her box was Hope. And left with the responsibility to lean our shoulders against the arc of history, to accelerate its achingly slow bend toward justice.

    The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

    by nicteis on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 10:35:17 AM PDT

  •  Interesting that TPM (0+ / 0-)

    on their home page have SCOTUS Deals Major Blow to Obama's Powers.  They can be tedious.  This ruling effects all recess appointments under the same circumstances no matter who the President is.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 10:47:06 AM PDT

  •  Democrats need to thwart Republicans every time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When the Republicans try this proforma session, when there's only one junior Republican senator in the room "presiding" over the senate, we need to have one junior Democratic senator to be there and call for a quorum.  Since every other Senator will be in his/her home state, there will be no quorum and no cute little proforma session, and the Republican fantasy of preventing "recess appointments" will be averted.  I am so seriously weary of all these cute little Parliamentarian tricks from the Republicans, I could puke.  I will never, ever vote for a Republican again, no matter what elective office is contested..    

  •  Interesting chart at WSJ (0+ / 0-)

    I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 10:58:17 AM PDT

  •  2014 (0+ / 0-)

    If the Republicans some how manage to take the Senate in November that should just about effectively end Obama's presidency with this ruling. He was never going to get legislation through, but now appointments will be impossible as well.

    The stakes just got higher.

  •  President can send Congress to recess (5+ / 0-)
    The Court's ruling strongly upholds the separation of powers: the ability for the houses of Congress to determine things like when they are in session and when they are not. One of the powers of the Congress is to determine its own rules, which the Senate did last year when it passed filibuster reform to break the stranglehold the minority Republicans had on President Obama's nominees.
    This is mostly true.

    However, the President is given the power to send the Senate and the House into Recess:

    [The president] shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper;
    I would love to see it happen the next time the pro-forma thing happens, just to show it can be done.

    The Republican Party: The Bridge to Nowhere

    by flounder on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 11:46:39 AM PDT

  •  Because they don't work for the Lege (0+ / 0-)

    the lege shouldn't have that much control over the executive branch.

  •  But what will happen with the NLRB (0+ / 0-)

    just to get practical in the real time for a moment.

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