The press is supposed to confront and challenge politicians, to fact check, to provide a service to their viewership to be informed.
Which is why I'm less upset at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly announcing that the Senate Republicans will be contributing an Amicus Brief to the case against President Obama's recess appointments than I am that Candy Crowley never bothered to mention that during the previous administration, Bush made 171 recess appointments--including Ambassador to the UN John Bolton--and Mitch McConnell never said boo to any of them.
There's nothing unconstitutional about Obama's appointments, as the Republicans well know:
The Justice Department is publicly rebutting Republican criticism of the legality of President Barack Obama's recent recess appointments of a national consumer watchdog and other officials.
The department released a 23-page legal opinion Thursday summarizing the advice it gave the White House before the Jan. 4 appointments. GOP leaders have argued the Senate was not technically in recess when Obama acted so the regular Senate confirmation process should have been followed.
Assistant Attorney General Virginia Seitz wrote that the president has authority to make such appointments because the Senate is on a 20-day recess, even though it has held periodic pro forma sessions in which no business is conducted. Seitz argued the pro forma sessions – some with as few as one member present – have not been sufficient for the chamber to exercise its constitutional authority to advise and consent to normal presidential nominations.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said Obama has endangered the nation's systems of checks and balances, and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch says the appointments are a very grave decision by an autocratic White House.
Autocratic? Such pearl-clutching hypocrisy. Sen. Mike Lee has promised to obstruct all further nominations as retribution for this completely legal tactic made necessary by Republican obstruction. This, of course, doesn't bother Mitch McConnell either. Because the tyranny of the minority to hold the entire country hostage against the desires of its populace is absolutely acceptable practice, if you're a Republican.
Transcripts below the fold
CROWLEY: I want to play you something from Senator Lee, who I know you know who is upset with the recess appointments that the president made for consumer board and other things that he did while you were out of town. You were not officially in recess, but nonetheless, the president made ahead and made these recess appointments. And here's Senator Lee on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MIKE LEE, (R) UTAH: I find myself duty bound to resist the consideration and approval of additional nominations until the president takes steps to remedy the situation. The president will not continue to enjoy the same nearly complete cooperation unless or until he rescinds his unconstitutional recess appointments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: OK. So part of what the Democrats have tried to do is frame you all as obstructionists. And here you have a senator on the floor saying until you take back these recess appointments I'm not going to let any nominations go through. Is that OK with you?
MCCONNELL: Well, we all know the president wants to pick a fight with congress. Liberal presidents have always found the congress inconvenient. Woodrow Wilson thought the framers of the constitution got it all wrong and didn't make the presidency strong enough. Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court. This president even more brazenly just ignores the constitution altogether.
But we've had a good deal of discussion about the appropriate response to that. And we think what he's really picking a fight with is the American people. Let me finish, there's already litigation regarding his appointments to the NLRB. We understand there will be litigation regarding his appointment to the CFPB, the new agency that answers to no one. That will be in court. You can look for Senate Republicans to join that litigation as amicus, that is filing briefs in support of that litigation. And the courts will have to decide, frankly, whether the president acted unconstitutionally or not.
CROWLEY: So have you asked Senator Lee to back off here? Are you going to allow...
MCCONNELL: Oh, senators -- senators put holds on nominations from time to time. That's as common as...
CROWLEY: But do you think it's a good tactic here given...
MCCONNELL: It's been done from time to time on senators from both sides, because they want to address some issue or some problem. That's not particularly unusual. But what is unusual here is the president's unconstitutional action. In other words, asserting that he has the authority to decide when we are in session. I don't find that in the constitution. And I think the courts are going to have to resolve this issue.
CROWLEY: But you're not willing to tell me whether you think what Senator Lee is doing is a good idea.
MCCONNELL: Senators put holds on nominations all the time. That is very common.
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