By David A. Black, Sr.
Although I disagree with President Obama’s policies, and his political agenda, until now, he has not violated the Constitution. (The Stimulus and the Healthcare bills are definitely arguable) However, that has now changed.
During a scheduled recess of Congress, President Obama used the opportunity to make 15 recess appointments to administrative positions that would normally require Senate confirmation.
In a written statement, the President declared, “The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees. But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis,”
The President is quoted by FOX News as saying, “At a time of economic emergency, two top appointees to the Department of Treasury have been held up for nearly six months,” he said. “I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government.”
President Obama went on to note that former President George W. Bush made 15 recess appointments by this point in his presidency, then claimed that the former President was not facing the same level of obstruction.
Does the President have the authority to make “recess appointments?
In Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, of the Constitution, we find that,
“…and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for…”
Article II, Section 2, Clause 3, goes on to state,
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
So let’s take the Constitution for what it actually says for once, instead of what some want it to say for their own political purpose, or as a method of promoting their personal agenda.
According to the Constitution, as quoted, “the President shall have the Power to fill up Vacancies THAT MAY HAPPEN DURING a Recess of the Senate,”
The Founders did not intend this sentence to serve as a method for the President to get around the authority of the Senate to provide “Advice and Consent” of Presidential Appointments.
The sentence was put in place for the President to make temporary appointment to key administrative positions when they become vacant during a recess of Congress.
The vacancies filled by Obama’s ‘recess appointments’, have existed since the President took Office. They did not happen during the “Recess of Congress”.
The fact that the President does not like “partisan politics” holding up the advancement of his agenda, or that some may be doing so to “score political points”, has no bearing on the subject. The President needs to get over it.
The fact is, there is NO provision in the Constitution for the President to override the authority or the responsibilities of the Senate. That would have opened the door for a dictatorship, and that was one thing the Founders were attempting to avoid.
The idea of pointing out the errors of his predecessor does not make the action legal under the Constitution. These appointments, made by President Obama, are a direct and blatant abuse of the Power of his Office, and a willful violation of the Constitution.
Is this an impeachable offense?
According to the Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 8,
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Accordingly, the President must take the ‘Oath of Office’ to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” to the best of his ability. President Obama has publicly reminded the nation, on several occasions, that he taught Constitutional Law at the University level in Illinois. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the President should be fully aware of the intent of Article II, Section 2, Clause 3.
Article II, Section 4, states,
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Article VI, Clause 2, states,
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Therefore, Article II, Section 2, Clause 3, as part of the Constitution, is Federal Law. Any action that willfully and purposefully violates the Constitution, by using the provision to usurp the Authority of the Senate, is a Federal Offense.
It is time for the Government to understand that the ‘Powers of Government’ do not lie solely in the three branches of Government. The Constitution provides for the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial branches.
However, under the ninth and tenth amendments, the Constitution also provides for the Several States and the People to be active participants in shaping our Government and legislation
Therefore, it is part of our civic responsibility to monitor the actions of the individuals elected to Office, and take action when necessary.
Amendment IX – The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X – The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
It is time for the President to be introduced to the Power of the People.
The Constitution points out, in Article I, Section 1, Clause 5,
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Article VI, Clause 3, states,
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution;
I am sending a letter, defining the points of this article, to my Representative in the House. I am demanding, under the Authority of the Constitution, that my Representative formally begin the process of forcing the President to rescind his “Recess Appointments”. If the President refuses to act accordingly, I am demanding that my Representative begin the process of impeachment for the willful and deliberate usurpation of the Authority of the Senate under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States.
Please join me and do the same.
To receive a copy of the letter I wrote to my Representative, make a request in the comments box. I will reply to all that I can. Thank you.