Senator Mike Lee Gives Dems a Dose of Constitutional Reality
Last week, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) was the only senator who showed up to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform concerning President Obama's recess appointments. It didn't take long for the minority members to become very uncomfortable when confronted with the realities of the Constitution regarding recess appointments.
This video is the entirety of Senator Lee's testimony before Oversight. It is worth watching the entire video because it is highly education both in terms of Constitutional law as well as the Democrats shameful and/or willful ignorance of its proper application.
Senator Lee published a follow-up piece in the February 4 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune. It is a cogent synopsis of why the president's actions were clearly unconstitutional. The essence of the argument centers on this,
The Constitution authorizes the president to appoint federal judges and executive officers only where one of two conditions is met: The president’s appointment must either receive “the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” or he must make the appointment during a period in which the Senate remains in recess.
Senator Lee testified that the senate never recessed because their adjournment had never been approved by the House. This simple procedural rule, contained in Article 1, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution, creates a significant issue for a president wishing to recess appoint,
Faced with this constitutional hurdle, the president claimed he could simply decide for himself whether or not the Senate was in recess. Such an unprecedented claim cannot pass a laugh test, much less withstand reasonable constitutional analysis. Nothing in our founding documents suggests the president could possibly possess this power.
Well, maybe it is not such a hurdle for a president who is willing to completely disregard the Constitution. No matter how much the Democrat spin machine tries to cast this action in a favorable light, it is undeniably unconstitutional.
The question is, what will the Republicans do about this going forward? There have been discussions among GOP leadership about taking legal action. Unfortunately, these appointments expire at the end of the 112th Congress. It is unlikely a case would be decided in time to prevent the appointees from taking adverse action.
The president's actions transcend partisan divides. It would not matter whether the president was a Republican or Democrat, the Constitution must be upheld. This truth cannot be said any more eloquently than Senator Lee stated it,
As a U.S. senator, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. I am obligated to resist the action of any president, Republican or Democrat, who seeks to circumvent clear constitutional requirements and upset the critical balance between the coequal branches of government. Our Founding Fathers knew that this constitutional balance was necessary to protect each of us from the tyranny of a single branch or a single man.