“We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution.” — Abraham Lincoln
Last week president Obama displayed an outright arrogance and authoritarianism in his unprecedented move to make four “recess” appointments while the Senate was meeting in pro forma session in direct violation of the Constitution.
The president usurped the authority to decide when the Senate is in recess to avoid seeking approval of the Senate for these appointments. He appointed three members of the National Labor Relations Board and Richard Cordray as the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The issue is not about the president’s authority to make “recess” appointments but whether the Senate was in “recess” when he made the recess appointments.
The Constitution prohibits either House of Congress from adjourning for more than three days without the consent of the other House. The House did not consent to a Senate recess. The Senate chose to stay in session by holding pro forma sessions (very brief sessions with only a few members) every few days.
The CFPB will now have the unrestrained authority to issue regulation after regulation contributing to the crippling red tape and bureaucracy that is already strangling business in a desperate economy in America.
The NLRB will be stacked with political appointees giving it the power to advance the president’s agenda to bolster unions across the country at the expense of job growth in a drowning economy.
The president violated not just the spirit of the Constitution, which vests in Congress the power to make laws, but the letter of the law as well. The action by the president is a breathtaking violation of the separation of powers. His illegal appointments usurp power from the American people’s duly elected representatives. This is an act in which the executive branch has virtually disenfranchised the legislative branch of government in order to implement its agenda beyond the reach of the people.
These actions are the kind that our founding fathers feared the most and sought to guard against.
Where will the president go next?
Each of us as citizens must reconcile to ourselves what is the responsibility of patriotism and its demands to enforce the Constitution and preserve our voice and our freedom.
William Perugino is active in local and regional politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.