January 04, 2012 7:20 pm ET — 14 Comments
Right-wing media have called President Obama’s recess appointment of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) during a Senate recess of fewer than three days an “open declaration of war on constitutional principles” and an “unprecedented power grab.” However, neither the Constitution nor the courts have specified how long the Senate must be in recess for a president to make a recess appointment; past presidents have made recess appointments during recesses of three days or fewer; and congressional Republicans are engaged in unprecedented obstructionism that is preventing hundreds of Obama nominees from being confirmed.
“Unprecedented Power Grab”: Conservative Media Attack Cordray Appointment
Big Government: Cordray Appointment “Would Be An Open Declaration Of War On Constitutional Principles And Completely Undermine Our System Of Checks And Balances.” From a January 3 post on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website, headlined “Red Alert: New Unconstitutional Presidential Power Grab May Be Imminent”:
So, let’s be clear about what is happening here: The President of the United States is planning to use an obscure precedent to claim that a split second in time empowers him to go around Congress to appoint a director to an agency that has broad unchecked, almost dictatorial powers to regulate business in America with little or no oversight from the peoples’ representatives in Congress.Such actions by the president would be an open declaration of war on constitutional principles and completely undermine our system of checks and balances. These kinds of power grabs are exactly how Banana Republics are born. [Big Government, 1/3/12]
NRO: Cordray Appointment Is “Doubly Offensive To The Constitution, Snubbing Congress And Usurping It In One Stroke.” In a January 4 post on National Review Online’s The Corner, headlined “While Everyone Dissects Iowa, the President Dissects the Constitution,” the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Iain Murray wrote:
Sources suggest that the president is going to go ahead and appoint Richard Cordray to appoint the new regulatory behemoth called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He will do this as a recess appointment, despite the fact that the Senate isn’t in recess. My colleague John Berlau has the details at Openmarket.[…]As John implies, this appointment is doubly offensive to the Constitution, snubbing Congress and usurping it in one stroke. I humbly suggest that it is time for the conservative movement to focus on what the president is doing here. [National Review Online, The Corner, 1/4/12]
Drudge Report: “Liberals Press Obama To Ignore Rules, Appoint Cordray Without Congressional Approval.” A January 4 Drudge Report headline read: