Recess Appointments

A federal appeals court last week ruled that recess appointments, as practiced by presidents for many years, are unconstitutional.  Do you agree or disagree with the court’s decision?  Will Republicans who praised this ruling come to disagree with it in the future?

19 responses to “Recess Appointments”

  1. AkhilP7 says :

    Recess appointments once had a purpose. When Congress recessed, before the time of planes and cars, it lasted a long time. If there was a need for someone to take a position that required Congressional approval, the President could have appointed someone temporarily in order to take on the task at hand. In this day and age, there is no need for recess appointments because Congress can quickly convene if an appointment is required. So if a president uses a recess appointment today, it’s simply an excuse to bypass Congress and doing so directly violates the Constitution. So I agree with the appeals court decision and I expect the Supreme Court to enforce the decision.
    Whether or not Republicans will fight back against this decision in the future like Democrats are likely to do so now is not really relevant. This is simply a matter of the constitutionality of recess appointments and they clearly are not constitutional. So both parties should accept this court decision and move on.

  2. megweck1 says :

    In the future, Republicans who celebrated this decision will hopefully stand by it. The decision takes power from the executive, which Republicans should traditionally support. I agree with it as well- any power held by the President that “bends the rules” is one that should be investigated. Recess appointments are unconstitutional not only because there is no longer a need for them with modern transportation, but because they also take the power to appoint from Congress.

  3. emmar4 says :

    That recess appointments are unconstitutional is one legitimate basis for the ban; however I think that another reason they should be banned is that it forces parts of the government to be more moderate, or at least more willing to compromise. If a president wants to appoint a person who is very partisan or extreme, it would be hard to get the approval from Congress; using the recess appointments, it is be easy to get whomever the president wants in a position. With the ban on recess appointments, however, the president is forced to find a qualified person who is more moderate so that the Senate will confirm it. The ban hopefully will lead to more compromise, at least in the case of appointing different positions within the government.

  4. sarahb7 says :

    I think the reason recess appointments have continued to gain popularity after the original reason for their existence ceased to be a factor with the invention of modern day transportation is because today politics are becoming more and more partisan. Recess appointments seem to be the only way to get anything done in Washington when Senators refuse to compromise with the President on appointments, and vice versa. The real issue at hand is the lack of bipartisan cooperation in Washington.

  5. Kunaal7 says :

    I agree that recess appointments are unconstitutional because they give the president the power to appoint anyone without any approval. While Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution says, “The President shall have power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session,” this act was not meant for the president to appoint anyone they want without any approval. It was made for convenience, not for a way to bypass the system. The judges said, “giving the President free rein to appoint his desired nominees at any time he pleases, whether that time be a weekend, lunch, or even when the Senate is in session and he is merely displeased with its inaction. This cannot be the law”. Now Supreme Court has made recess appointment unconstitutional, the court should also ensure that due to political fights the cabinet post should not remain vacant for months or years.

  6. Naiyah1 says :

    I agree with my classmates that recess appointments are unconstitutional. They allow the president to find a loophole in his restrictions through an outdated law. Although it is sometimes difficult to get things passed by the Senate, ultimately, approval by the Senate is the original intent of the Constitution and the president should respect that.

    On the issue of whether or not Republicans will continue to support this ruling, I think the answer is (as always) it depends. Republicans do generally favor decreasing the power of the government and the president, so in theory they should support it. However, if there ever comes a time when there is a Republican president and a Democratic or nearly split Congress, I do not doubt that Republicans would turn a blind-eye to the recess appointments issue.

  7. molly4 says :

    I agree with the decision to ban recess appointments, but not on the basis that they are unconstitutional. Article two, section two of the Constitution clearly states: “The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.” Now, I do not know what it was that the founding fathers WANTED when they wrote this sentence, but we cannot focus on the desires of men in a completely different time and situation from present day. My understanding of the word “constitutionality” is that it refers to the TEXT that is written in the U.S. Constitution, not whatever we assume the wishes and vision of the founding fathers to have been. We must instead read the Constitution’s words through the lens of modern context, and decide how what was written is useful and applicable today. We cannot claim “unconstitutionality” because we no longer agree with what was written, but instead must make changes based on the fact that they no longer enhance and benefit government. It is my belief that recess appointments are being abused and circumvent the senate’s power to approve, and that is the reason they should be banned. They are fully constitutional, but that does not mean we must allow them to continue in government today if they take away from fair and effective government process.

  8. Paul1 says :

    While most Republicans support more limited government, I think that they may come to disagree with the ruling if a Republican becomes the President. With the partisanship and gridlock we’ve seen in the Senate, recess appointments were one of the few ways that the President could appoint officials without being blocked by opponents. Because Republicans are not currently in power, they are heavily in favor of this decision.

    I believe that recess appointments are usually constitutional, but not in the way President Obama acted. While I disagree with the holding of pro forma Senate sessions to obstruct recess appointments, they are legal. Obama made recess appointments while the Republicans were holding pro forma sessions, meaning that they were not technically recess appointments, but still approved as such. If this practice were to be allowed, according to the court, the President would have the power to appoint regardless of the Senate. Since the President made appointments during a time when the Senate was technically in session, he could do it anytime, whether the Senate is in session or not. The court stated that this would circumvent the Senate confirmation process, granting the President much more power, and doing away with one of the most important checks on Presidential power.

  9. Carolyn4 says :

    I believe that presidents should be allowed to make recess appointments. Although with the newer more efficient technology, it is much easier for congress to meet, I believe there is another purpose for these appointees. We have discussed how in reality, the president’s true power is to persuade, and that the president’s enumerated powers are actually very limited. Small adjustments, like recess appointments, allow the president to apply his or her executive power over congress. This is very important, especially in today’s world, where we’ve seen tiresome gridlock in congress year after year. Congress constantly stifles any legislative progress that our president’s have tried to push forward. Thus, recess appointments grant a little one-up for the president over congress, which may in fact catalyze more progress!

  10. Dan1 says :

    I believe that the President should not, under any circumstance, be able to make any recess appointments. If presidential appointments are not accepted by the Senate that should send a strong message that his peers do not think that these people are qualified for their positions. The fact of the matter is that recess appointments are a way for the President to go around the checks and balances of the Constitution. Its unconstitutional in the purest form because it directly opposes what the founding fathers saw fit in the balance of power and the Senates check on the President.

  11. Emily1 says :

    I don’t believe recess appointments are constitutional. In my eyes, it is a way to “cheat the system” and appoint people that in some cases may not be fit for a position. In the time that the Constitution was written, I see an addition like this as completely valid and necessary. But times have changed, technology has advanced, and I don’t see a need for them anymore. Congress can quickly convene in this day and age to make a judgement on an appointment.

    I think in the future, some Republicans may come to regret their decision about this ruling. The next time a Republican is elected president and wants to make a recess appointment of their own, what will those Congresspeople be saying? But, I do think it is fair for both parties to be limited without the ability to make such appointments.

  12. Ryan4 says :

    Despite the notion of “cheating the system”, I still believe that recess appointments are sometimes a necessary part of being president in a very extreme government where compromise is sometimes hard to come by. In order for the President to push back these political stalemates, recess appointments are justified. That being said, wouldn’t view this as an act of siding with on political party. I feel like the next republican president will aso have troubles passing legislation with the lack of recess appointments.

  13. Crawford4 says :

    Recess appointments are a way to get around a check that is necessary to curb presidential power. I am glad that a court has stepped up on behalf of the constitution and on the behalf of federalism to stop Obama and other presidents from taking advantage of a loop hole in the constitution. Those leading our most respected and important public departments must be approved by more than just one man, that is how democracy works, and now that will finally be seen to.

  14. nicoleb7 says :

    I agree that recess appointments are unconstitutional. The president should not have the power to appoint anyone he wants without congresses approval just because the senate is on a recess. I also think it was a good idea to rule them unconstitutional because of what Emma said, hopefully this will lead to more moderate senators because congresses approval is needed. I think the next time there is a republican president who isn’t allowed to make recess appointments the republicans will regret this decision. It seems convenient right now because Obama is in office. As soon as they want republicans appointed and congress doesn’t approve them it will become a problem.

  15. bump7 says :

    I believe that recess appointments are unconstitutional because they allow the president to find a loophole in which they can bypass power specifically granted to the Senate, i.e. confirmation of a nominated official. This power was granted to the Senate to ensure that the president does not extend his power too far into other branches of government. Recess appointments allow the president to unfairly gain power, and they mess up the system of checks and balances. By appointing officials while Senate is on recess the president demeans their power and gives the executive branch an unfair advantage over the Legislative and Judicial branches of the US Government

  16. jenchen1 says :

    It’s true that recess appointments seem unconstitutional because they bypass the ‘check’ the legislative branch has on the executive. I doubt this ruling will benefit Congress in terms on efficency because of the gridlocks and stalemates right now. Of course Republican senators are for the ruling because the president is Democratic. However, if/when a Republican president comes along, I don’t believe Republicans will regret having supported the ruling.

    But why now? Not that this ruling has angered me or anything, but it seems out of the blue, because something Presidents did throughout history is only now considered unconstitution? Was there something unique to the Obama administration or has SCOTUS’ opinion changed over the years?

  17. Jonas1 says :

    I believe that recess appointments are constitutional because the power is specifically granted in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. I agree with the court’s decision, though, because Congress was technically in session when these appointments were made, thus making them invalid. Obama is certainly not the first president to make recess appointments, so I’m surprised this issue wasn’t sorted out a long time ago. I think many Republicans will come to disagree with this ruling in the future, as their support seems much more political than ideological. I think both parties favor a more powerful president, as long as he’s on their side.

  18. jackb7 says :

    Given that the President is granted this power in the constitution, one can not argue the constitutionality of recess appointments. However, the ethicality behind the process in the modern age is a different story. Presidents don’t perform this task for the sake of convenience and goodwill towards his congressmen and the painstaking appointment process, he does so to insure his nominations will be appointed. So is it ethical? No. But who ever said politics were? Both major parties are given access to this power, and so long as we the people want to stand by our constitution, recess appointments will continue to occur on both sides of the isle.

  19. iqra07 says :

    I agree that recess appointments are unconstitutional. Recess appointments were created for convenience at a time when congress was rarely in session, and getting members together was very difficult. That’s not the case today. Now, presidents take advantage of recess appointments and use them to appoint people who they know will not be confirmed.
    While Republicans are happy now, I doubt they will be in the future. At some point or another, a Republican president will want to appoint someone who is very conservative, and a majority Democrat congress will not allow it. This hurts them as much as it hurts Democrats.

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