Yoo: Obama Damaged Presidency With Recess Appointments

Thursday, 31 Jan 2013 11:34 AM

By Dan Weil

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President Barack Obama has made things more difficult for future occupants of the White House by making recess appointments that have now been overturned by a federal court, says John Yoo, a former Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration.

Obama last year appointed three new members to the National Labor Relations Board and Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He claimed those were recess appointments, even though the Senate technically remained in session.

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The Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Obama’s actions. But the decision did more than take away a few jobs and strike down a year's worth of rules that eased union organizing and regulated mortgages and credit cards, Yoo writes in The Wall Street Journal.

“Judge David Sentelle, given an opening by the unprecedented White House power grab, issued a ruling that has profound ramifications for the office of the presidency. He and Judge Karen Henderson rejected the very idea of ‘intra-session recess appointments.’"

Bottom line: “Mr. Obama thus has jeopardized a vital executive power for all future presidents,” says Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bush made some recess appointment, too. But in contrast to Obama, “Mr. Bush respected the Senate's authority over its own rules, and he declined to unilaterally select officials in violation of the Appointments Clause,” Yoo writes.


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