[T]he Court displayed little understanding of the recent politicization of the confirmation process or the structural role that the recess appointment power plays as a stop-gap to ensure a functioning democracy, making the rather remarkable statement that “[m]ost appointments are not controversial and do not produce friction between the branches.” Even more troubling was the Court’s elevation of form over substance in ruling that the Senate’s pro forma sessions—in which the Senate calls itself to business for a few seconds and conducts no business—were sufficient to deny the president the authority to make recess appointments.There couldn't be a better legal case made for Harry Reid and Senate Democrats to act. The authors point out that Senate Republicans have effectively stopped President Obama from fulfilling one of his key roles, his constitutional duty to "'take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed'through the appointment power, keeping our agencies running and our courts staffed." Senate Republicans have been hell-bent on making sure that none of the branches of government functions, but Senate Democrats do have the power to combat them.
Yesterday’s decision opens the door to new kinds of Senate obstruction and risks eviscerating the president’s practical ability to make recess appointments. The decision creates even more urgency around the need for the Senate to reform its practices, end obstruction of nominees, and ensure that our agencies and courts are adequately staffed. […]
The Senate already took an important step toward reform last fall by changing the filibuster procedure for most nominees to require only a majority vote for cloture. Yet further reforms are urgently required to ensure that executive and judicial nominees are considered in a timely fashion—including reducing opportunities to waste floor time and reforming the blue slip process, where home-state senators can keep judicial nominees from moving forward. Without such reform, yesterday’s decision has the potential to significantly hamstring the president’s power to execute our laws.
That means changing floor procedure to stop Republicans from wasting so much time that the backlog of nominees can't be brought to the floor. It also means changing the blue slip procedure that allows Republicans to prevent any judicial nominee from their states to even be named. Now's the time to do it.
Join Fix the Senate Now Coalition and Daily Kos by signing the petition to Harry Reid: We agree. If Senate Republicans are not on the floor to actively oppose a nomination, they should lose their time to debate.