Much is being made about the most recent power grab by the White House – specifically, Wednesday’s bypassing of the Senate to install three members to the National Labor Relations Board and the appointment of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In order to justify and defend these actions, progressives argue that President George W. Bush made far more recess appointments than has the current White House occupant. While that may be true, it’s completely beside the point. The issue isn’t that occupy Oval Office made recess appointments. It’s how and when he made them. The present occupant acted just one day after the Senate held a session and a recess of at least three days is required before the chief executive has the power to make recess appointments.
As he said Wednesday while speaking before an audience in Shaker Heights, Ohio, “I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer. When Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.”
Quite understandibly, Senate Republicans were not pleased by this action. Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, declared that the move “arrogantly circumvented the American people.” Yes, it’s easy for members of the Senate to express outrage at this arrogant power grab; one in a long series of steps taken by this White House to marginalize Congress.
But where were the high and mighty principles when you passed H.R. 1540: the National Defense Authorization Act, which expands the battlefield to include the United States and gives authority to the president to militarily detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without charge or trial, on the mere suspicion of being a terrorist? Did passage of this bill not also symbolize where someone “arrogantly circumvented the American people”? This law, which “puts our people at risk”, is a violation of the Fifth (“nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”) and Sixth (“the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial”) Amendments.
In the Senate, 46 Democratic Senators and 40 Republican Senators, including Senator McConnell voted in favor of this violation of the Bill of Rights. For the record, let it also state that in the House, 93 Democrats and 190 Republicans also voted aye.
The NDAA is an open assault by government on the Liberties of U.S. Citizens. The very Liberties secured and protected by the document they swore to defend upon their inauguration, the United States Constitution. At this point, every Citizen of these United States of America is clearly obligated to take the government to task for this flagrant violation of their Rights. Each and every House Representative and Senator who voted in favor of this unconstitutional slip into tyranny should be voted out of office.
By the way, this bill was signed into law on December 31, 2011 while the golfer in chief was in Kailua, Hawaii enjoying his family’s 17 day, $4 million dollar vacation.
Happy New Year.
 Senate Web Site: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=1&vote=00230