A Fox News legal analyst asserted on Thursday that President Barack Obama became a “vigilante” by making recess appointments this week.
The White House announced on Wednesday that the president would be appointing former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three others to the National Labor Relations Board.
Many conservatives have argued that the since the Senate was not technically in recess, the move was illegal.
“In my view, this is a vigilante act of an imperial presidency,” Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. opined Thursday.
The White House, however, has said that the appointments are perfectly legal because Senate Republicans were using a “gimmick” to prevent the president from fully staffing the government.
“The Senate has effectively been in recess for weeks, and is expected to remain in recess for weeks,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote for The White House Blog. “In an overt attempt to prevent the President from exercising his authority during this period, Republican Senators insisted on using a gimmick called ‘pro forma’ sessions, which are sessions during which no Senate business is conducted and instead one or two Senators simply gavel in and out of session in a matter of seconds.”
“But gimmicks do not override the President’s constitutional authority to make appointments to keep the government running. Legal experts agree. In fact, the lawyers who advised President Bush on recess appointments wrote that the Senate cannot use sham ‘pro forma’ sessions to prevent the President from exercising a constitutional power,” he added.
But all of that was not good enough for Johnson, who says Republicans should sue the White House.
“The issue is do they have the political will and the nerve to move forward against this?” Johnson wondered. “Essentially, the president had nullified a power of Congress, has acted in a way that’s in violation of the Constitution.”
Watch this video from Fox News’ Fox & Friends, uploaded Jan. 5, 2012.
(H/T: The Political Carnival)