• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • House Committee Examines Obama's Unconstitutional Appointments

    President Obama’s illegal non-recess appointments are unconstitutional and defy the process the Founding Fathers intended, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) told a House committee Wednesday.

    The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee invited a handful of constitutional law experts to discuss the four controversial appointments Obama made in January. Citing delays in the Senate, Obama installed Richard Cordray (pictured) as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Richard Griffin Jr., Sharon Block, and Terence F. Flynn as members of the National Labor Relations Board.

    Lee, a constitutional expert and scholar, relentlessly defended the U.S. Constitution, saying Obama’s appointments defied checks and balances, taking away the power that belongs to the people.

    “Constitutional government is designed to not be so efficient so laws don’t get passed quickly,” Lee argued. “Just because there are delays, the Constitution shouldn’t be circumvented.”

    The central debate at the hearing was whether or not the constitutional process of checks and balances should be circumvented for efficiency. Defenders of Obama’s decision focused their arguments on delays, saying the process is not efficient.

    “This institution of Congress and the House and the Senate is rightly seen by Americans as totally dysfunctional,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT). “There is a fundamental difference between deliberation and destructive delay. … This institution isn’t working.”

    Other witnesses included legal experts who debated the constitutionality of the appointments.

    Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina, defended Obama’s decision. He said the appointments were the only “feasible means” to move forward.

    “The fact that these appointments have been made increase the likelihood that the affected agencies will be able to fulfill their statutory objectives, whereas allowing the positions to remain unfilled leaves many Americans unsure about whether or when these statutory objectives may ever be realized,” Gerhardt said. “It seems perfectly appropriate for the president to take such concerns into account.”

    But other witnesses said expediency shouldn’t be a reason for taking an unconstitutional action. C. Boyden Gray, who served as s White House counsel for President George H.W. Bush, urged Congress to take action in response to Obama’s decision. He warned against relying on the courts to do so.

    “Because Congress cannot be sure that the courts will retroactively correct the CFPB’s and NLRB’s exercise of unconstitutional power even if they have been unconstitutionally staffed, it is all the more incumbent upon Congress to explore whatever checks and balances are available to pressure the Administration not to repeat its unconstitutional appointments, and to nominate a new CFPB Director and NLRB members who would secure the Senate’s advice and consent.”

    Heritage’s Ed Meese and Todd Gaziano articulated a similar position in a Washington Post op-ed last month. But despite such concerns with Congress punting the question to the courts — including the long delay that would be required to get a final court ruling — at least two senators appear willing to move in that direction. Lee and his colleague Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said they will file amicus briefs in one case that has attempted to challenge the illegal appointments.

    Posted in Featured, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to House Committee Examines Obama's Unconstitutional Appointments

    1. Joe Stickney says:

      in the financial reg bill to get paid must be conirmed by senate!

    2. Bobbie says:

      defiance just like ignorance in America's leadership of the peoples constitution, is not acceptable. Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor calls it “feasible means” to move forward? Obama sat in the sat and over 3 years time to work within the peoples' constitutional law. Why should his own incompetence of his own oath of office allow him to violate the American peoples' constitution? “feasible means” to move forward is not constitutional, it's lack of respect for the constitution and reckless rhetoric!

    3. zff says:

      “This institution of Congress and the House and the Senate is rightly seen by Americans as totally dysfunctional,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)."

      Wrong, Pete. It's just the Democrats, particularly in the Senate, who Americans rightly see as totally dysfunctional.

      “There is a fundamental difference between deliberation and destructive delay. … This institution isn’t working.”

      Sorry, Pete, but no one man, not even the President, gets to sorely decide what's deliberation and what's "destructive delay." And the institute of the Presidency is what isn't working. And the creation and staffing of yet another arbitrarily powerful, unaccountable bureaucracy does not count as an emergency that demands tyrannical abuses of power.

      Typical lib/Dem attitude, support democracy and freedom, but only when it benefits them. If W. had done this, Pete and the other Dems would be screaming bloody murder.

    4. Harry Reid is the one that started this madness and now he says that it is okay for a Democrat to ignore the law if it suits him even though Reid was successful with this tactic to end Bush's recess appointments in 2007. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    5. For those of you that think these appointments were constitutional please read this article in detail. Obama will trample everything to get his way. People just don't understand this!

    6. Lloyd Scallan says:

      It's like asking the fox why the chicken coop is empty. Congress allowed this to happen then, to save there jobs, they make wild gestures to again fool the American people.

    7. springstaurus says:

      If deliberate defiance of the Constitution is not an impeachable offense, what is? Why do the eunuchs in Congress need a court to tell them what is obvious?

    8. FedupMan says:

      Will someone explain to me WHY the house can't DE-FUND the NLRB that has broken every rule since Obama stacked the deck with UNION people and lawyers. The NLRB has clearly chosen a unconstitutional path and still the House will not de-fund it. WHY?

    9. eggsbenedict says:

      I am getting so tired of the Congress telling us that Obama is doing unconstitutional things! Why in the hell wont they do something about it and him? They have enough unconstitutional acts by Obama to write articles for Impeachment, why wont they do it? Are they afraid just because he is black (remember, he is also 50% white too) and they are afraid of upsetting the blacks of this country? If he gets re-elected then congress should really be afraid, afraid of the American people.

    10. Jeanne Stotler says:

      Saul Alinsky and George Soros have taught Obama well, just read their books and you will see where he's going, Soros hope for an "open Goverment" Many people are claiming he's(BHO) the "Greatest thing to ever happen" they need to wake up, and we ALL need do really look VRY carefully at those who areunning for GOP nomination. It scares me when Ge. Soros says Romney and Obama are the same?? WHY, is Romney in his pocket a well?? Read "Shadow Party, Shadow Goverment" it'll wake you up as to what is going on.

    11. I don't understand why the elected officials who took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution aren't doing that. Someone earlier stated that the Constitution was the people's document. I like that. We the people are not being properly served by our representatives and senators. I'd like to see Obama impeached for his unconstitutional behavior.

    12. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      The House GOP frittered away their only bargaining chip last year by almost unconditionally raising the debt ceiling. Well, on second thought, I suppose Obama could have instructed his Treasury Secretary to borrow money in excess of the previous debt ceiling. If you're willing to violate the Constitution, why not also the laws thereof?

    13. John in NC says:

      If you swear an oath to defend the constitution then break that oath are there no consequences?

    14. RBrewer says:

      I think as an outsider looking in on whats going on in america , Which will affect the whole world is very frightening , November is not to far away Americans black and white wake up
      I think the internet and modern technolgy ,is letting the world know whats going on

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.