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In their continuing protest and open rebellion against the presidency of Barack Obama, Republicans, who have obstructed the President on a whole slew of items, from legislation that would help to create jobs, to the appointment of heads to run important governmental agencies, to judicial nominees, have demonstrated a ceaseless effort to not only wage a war to block the President in real time, but also to obstruct him retroactively.

In terms of the President’s appointments, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), has starkly disclosed the Republicans’ effectiveness in being able to legislatively cripple this President.

“In the history of the United States, 168 presidential nominees have been filibustered, 82 blocked under President Obama, 86 blocked under all the other presidents"
Reid’s statement is underlined by one of the most stunning pieces of statistical graphs that I have ever seen.

Faced with this voracious unyielding onslaught of obstructionism through most of his administration, like a mugging in broad day light, the President has been forced, in some cases, to usher through his candidates for important governmental positions through the means of recess appointments.

Today, the Supreme Court struck down appointments the President has made through this device.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed a finding that President Barack Obama's recess appointments were unconstitutional.

Obama made the appointments to National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last year while the Senate was conducting "pro-forma" sessions.  It is understood that legislators will not actually conduct business during a pro forma session, which came into vogue during the administration of George H.W. Bush and has been used since by both parties. In practice, the Senate is gaveled to order, then immediately adjourned.

With three of five slots on NLRB vacant during a pro forma session in January 2012, Obama appointed Deputy Labor Secretary Sharon Block, labor lawyer Richard Griffin and NLRB counsel Terence Flynn to the board.

Senate Republicans had been blocking consideration of two of these nominations.  The D.C. Circuit last year deemed the appointments invalid while looking at the challenge to a labor board finding brought by Noel Canning, a soft drink bottler in the Pacific Northwest. Affirming that decision Thursday, the essentially unanimous Supreme Court said that "the president lacked the power to make the recess appointments here at issue."

A Pew Research paper, published in January, revealed that President Obama had utilized the process of recess appointments less than 40 times during the run of his entire presidency to avoid the Republican Party’s historical obstructionism:
So far, Obama has made recess appointments 32 times, according to a Feb. 2013 analysis by the Congressional Research Service. Among the last four presidents, Ronald Reagan made the most recess appointments (232), followed by George W. Bush (171), Bill Clinton (139) and George H.W. Bush (78), who served only one term.  These include not only ones made between sessions of Congress, but ones during recesses within a session.
Let me reemphasize this: Ronald Reagan 232, George W. Bush 171, Bill Clinton 139, George H. W. Bush 78 (serving one term) and Barack Obama 32.

This is beyond infuriating and if I might take a moment to rant:

I remember years ago elders relating the ordeal Jackie Robinson endured in becoming the first African American to enter the ranks of players in major league baseball, and I found it hard to believe that a world could stand watch while an individual endured such unbelievable standards of duplicity.

But the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama has brought this specter into stark reality, because it is clear that this President, yes, this President, unlike any other President in history, must be stopped or even humiliated at all cost.

For though he has provided healthcare to tens of millions of individuals, though he has saved the economy from the wrecking pit in which it was lodged by his predecessor, though he has contributed to the betterment of people across wide spectrums, such as through the repealing of DADT, to the focus on issues important to Women, and the addressing of unfair sentencing laws in our prisons, as well as many other fronts that have made the lives of those who elected him better,  Barack Obama, his opponents and detractors would have you believe, is a supposed "force of destruction" and a "betrayer of America".  

Therefore it is important that he is stopped, it is important that he is obstructed, and it is important that he is humiliated and demeaned as a “lawless” President “who is worse than Bush” and who, his opponents will cry, to anyone who will listen, is without equal in his desire to subvert the laws of this nation.

How many recess appointments have other Presidents made compared to President Obama again? And why did the engines of social justice neglected to rescind these past “infractions”? It is unimportant, for, you see, they weren’t Barack Obama….

Nevertheless...the eyes of history are wide open.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ned - I think you missed the fundamental (14+ / 0-)

    elements of this 9-0 ruling. The Senate was in "pro-forma" session when President Obama made the appointments. The Constitution empowers the Congress to make its own rules, including when it is in session. Historically other Presidents, including GWB, respected the Senate's "pro forma" sessions as valid and didn't try to make appointments during those times.

    How often other Presidents made recess appointments, or how often appointments were filibustered or blocked in some manner, wasn't part of how all nine Justices looked at this case.

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 01:55:40 PM PDT

    •  You say it so clearly VClib. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, Victor Ward
    •  A little too far: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Garrett, VClib, kurt
      How often other Presidents made recess appointments, or how often appointments were filibustered or blocked in some manner, wasn't part of how all nine Justices looked at this case.
      I get what you're saying, but you're taking it too far: these issues are prominent both in the decision and in Scalia's concurrence. Breyer's opinion includes two appendices listing recess appointments and their circumstances.  The total agreement over pro forma sessions is why the result was (technically) unanimous, and as you said has nothing to do with other recess appointments, but how often Presidents made inter- or intra- recess appointments and why was the sticking point between the 5-4 aspect of the decision.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 02:42:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know what the ruling says. I strongly disagree (0+ / 0-)

      with it. You have individuals in the Republican Congress making a show of conducting business without even a quorum.

      They go in an turn on the lights knowing full well they are out on vacation. With this Congress they are on vacation even while they are in session.

      I disagree with this....

    •  The fundamental element of this 9-0 ruling is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that only someone as epistemologically challenged as a Supreme Court Justice could possibly believe that the recess appointment power could be thwarted by the Senate inventing a bogus kind of "being in session".

      This is how sensible, intelligent people would have ruled on this case:

      A. The purpose of the recess appointment power is to permit the President to make appointments at times when the Senate is not conducting business in a fashion so as to make timely Senate consideration possible.

      B. The language of the clause in the Constitution was written by men who would have understood "in session" to mean actually, functionally in session, rather than some bogus legalistic "pro forma" non-session. Standing at the podium and declaring the Senate to be "in session" when there is no business being conducted, when there is no intention of conducting business, and indeed when a quorum is not even physically present in the District of Columbia, is an obvious fraud, and need not be tolerated by the people, in whose interest this Court operates. Congress may have the authority to make its own rules as far as when it is or is not in session, but Congress does not have the authority to redefine the words in the English language so as to accommodate their non-feasance.

      C. Therefore, using our judgment, rather than allowing ourselves to be constrained by the Senators' obvious abuse of language, we declare that the pro-forma sessions absurdly invoked by the Senate are not sessions as referenced in the relevant clauses of the Constitution, and therefore, the President's appointments are legal and valid.

      Sadly, every single one of those justices is fucking blinded by the lunatic conventions of thought, knowledge and reason that dominate jurisprudence, and thus every single one of them, in absolutely non-partisan fashion, just sided with idiocy over humanism.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 04:43:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  UR - two thoughts (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, MGross

        Who gets to decide the rules of Congress, the members of Congress or the President? The Constitution seems clear on this point as all nine Justices confirmed.

        The Senate was going to be away for three days. How does that preclude the Senate dealing with an issue in a "timely fashion"?

        The recess appointment power was never intended to be an end run around the Senate.

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 05:01:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You aren't fucking getting it. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The Congress doesn't get to redefine "session" and "in-session" to mean any goddamned thing they like -- if so, then the recess appointment has no meaning at all, since Congress could simply be "in session" all the time, without anybody even being there.

          This isn't about Congress making its own rules, this is about Congress making its own language, and then layering that unique language over the one used to write the Constitution.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 05:07:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, it's about Congress making it's own rules (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The Congress does actually get to define in session, that's the point. There are three candidates who can define when Congress is in session and under the doctrine of separation of powers the Courts have made it clear that Congress decides.

            "let's talk about that" uid 92953

            by VClib on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 05:23:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, they don't. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              "In session" means something.

              It meant something when it was written.

              Congress gets to decide when it will be in session.

              Congress does not get to redefine the meaning of "in session", any more than Congress gets to redefine the meaning of any of the other words in the Constitution. "Yes, of course, it says we shall make no law regarding establishment of religion, but what we are doing is not establishing the Southern Baptist Church, because 'establish' means 'say something bad about', and to the contrary this bill exalts the Southern Baptist Church, and requires every citizen to pay a tithe thereto."

              The people who wrote the Constitution obviously didn't think they needed to carefully define "in session", because they knew what it meant, and they assumed everybody else knew what it meant, and they assumed it would never be a matter of dispute or debate. Today's decision completely nullifies the recess appointment power, because any Congress at any time can now redefine "in session" to mean anything at all. Whether deliberately or not, the justices have removed any requirement of reasonability from the exercise of this inane authority. The decision is devoid of philosophical awareness, and is the broken product of small, undereducated, unwise minds.

              In this, as in so many ways, we have disappointed their expectations.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 06:03:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  What Obama did which the other did not do (5+ / 0-)

    was make the recess appointments while the Senate was still holding pro-forma sessions.  This was forced on the Senate because the Constitution requires that the other house acquiesce to any adjournment lasting longer than 3 days and the GOP House did not do so (to be fair, this practice first happened when Dems controlling the House used it to block recess appointments by Dubya).  

  •  This doesn't apply to all recess appointments (6+ / 0-)

    just to the three that were made to the NLRB while the Senate was technically still in session.

    The modern usage of the recess appointment still stands, though Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas would get rid of those, too.

    Not really a huge surprise to see this outcome, but it was worth a shot.

  •  The Senate was technically in session during the (6+ / 0-)

    NLRB appointments.  Its important to remember that the Senate was technically in session during these pro-forma sessions. Dems used this tactic to keep Bush from making recess appointments.  Tactics like this come back to bite us in the backside when control of the Senate and Whitehouse shift.   Although the Repubs have been unprecedented in their blockage of Obama's nominees, we should always be wary of what tactics we use because they end up being a double edged sword.  

  •  The Roberts Court will reverse the decision, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kathy in ga, NedSparks

    As soon as there's a Republican elected to the White House. They're hoping it will be in 2016, but Roberts and his cronies are young enough to wait until 2020, maybe even until 2024. As long as the core 5 can remain, that's all they need.

    It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now? - Guerilla Radio, R.A.T.M.

    by Fordmandalay on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 02:35:06 PM PDT

  •  what are the senate rules (0+ / 0-)

    for allowing a pro forma session?  

    •  You will search the constitution in vain, for any (0+ / 0-)

      mention of such a concept. With respect to the "sessions" mentioned in the Constitution, the "pro-forma" session doesn't have even meaning, nevermind weight -- other than in the fevered, damaged brains of those steeped in Jurisprudential Unreason, which rejects a humanist understanding of what language is and how it works.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 04:50:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well the Tee Peeing folks got what they wanted (0+ / 0-)

    for now, but they may at some time in the future regret having to wear what they knitted.

    Yes the future Supremes might find a way to reverse the precedent to allow the TPs to have it both ways, but it isn't as easy to over throw a Constitutionally based decision as not having that high hurdle at all..

  •  more than President Obama has made (0+ / 0-)

    including St. Ronnie of RayGun

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:09:50 PM PDT

  •  We the People... (0+ / 0-)

    Aritcle 1...
    Section 5, paragraph 2:
    Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

    in plain speak: The Houses of Congress make their own rules, beyond those stated explicitly in the Constitution.

    paragraph 4:
    Neither House, During the Session of Congress shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the Two Houses shall be sitting.

    In plain speak: Neither the Senate nor the House can adjourn without permission of the other body. And they cannot hold sessions anywhere other than the Halls of Congress.

    Article 2
    Section 3, paragraph 1

    ... 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 left of some at the front and the end of the paragraph as irrelevant to this discussion.)

    in plain speak: POTUS can force a session of Congress if the situation calls for it. POTUS can adjourn Congress of the Houses are in disagreement as to time of adjournment.

    Was this the card Obama is waiting to play? Next time the Senate filibusters a qualified candidate and the is a disagreement on adjournment, he could adjourn all of Congress (I would think for not more than three days) and then make the recess appt.


    "Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news. Which follows its own special rules." ~ Douglas Adams

    by coyote66 on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:12:10 PM PDT

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