Yesterday, President Barak Obama undertook an action that several of his predecessors have taken: he appointed someone to public office – in this case a “czar” and 3 members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – using the “recess appointment” power explicitly granted him in the US Constitution which allows him to fill vacancies while the Senate is in recess. What made this act unprecedented was the fact that the Senate isn’t in recess. The Senate is in “pro-forma” session, a state applauded by and implemented by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in years past, done specifically to prevent the President from making such recess appointments. Apparently, President Obama considers such trivialities as having no effect on him and he decided to go ahead and do it.
Now, let’s be clear. Like the tactic or not, the “pro-forma” session is a matter of law and Senate rule and has been agreed to and supported by both the President (when he was a Senator) and by the Obama Administration’s Justice Department just 2 years ago. It is most definitely and conclusively not “in recess” and, therefore, by the clear language of the Constitution, the President may not make recess appointments. The President, citing his “duty” to get things done and not wait on a pesky house of publicly-elected senatorial representatives, just flipped us, Congress, and the Constitution the bird and did it anyway.
Even members of the left-wing mainstream media aren’t supporting this and virtually no one with any level of expertise in constitutional law is saying it’s anything but illegal. If Obama and the Democrats push this, they’re going to wind up trying to stare down the Supreme Court, and they’re going to lose. The question isn’t a matter of whether it’s illegal, it’s a matter of what we do about it now. How seriously should we take it when the President of the United States – an officer of our government duly and publicly sworn to “uphold and defend” the Constitution – decides to trample on said document. How can we trust him to act in accordance with his oath in anything when he’ll do this?
During the Bush Administration our leftish fellow citizens tossed around the “impeachment” word an awful lot. They pretty much bent the meaning of the word to translate into, “throw the guy I don’t like in office out, fast!” That’s not what impeachment is for and I remain vigilant to ever letting my side of the debate slip into the same nonsense. But, as they say, if the shoe fits, wear it. Impeachment of the President can only take place in response to “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” (See Article II, section 4.) This clearly isn’t bribery. You could make an argument that Obama’s willful breaking of his oath could constitute treason, but I think the “treason” the framers had in mind dealt with betraying the country to a foreign power. I could be convinced, tho.
Is it a high crime or misdemeanor? Interestingly enough, only Congress can say if that’s true but here’s what I’d like to pose to my congressmen. There is nothing at all keeping me from breaking the speed limit when I drive. There’s no override on my throttle that keeps my car at a given speed. But if I choose to break that law and I’m caught, there’s a penalty to be had. Obama knew full well that what he was doing was against the law and he chose to do it anyway. There should be a penalty to be had there. The process of applying that penalty begins with impeachment. The President should be impeached and then the matter of conviction should be taken up as swiftly as possible.