"The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust." — James Madison
Yesterday Barack Obama gave one of his numerous campaign speeches on our tax dollar at yet another high school. This time it was as Shaker Heights High School in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, a swing state in the 2012 presidential election. Shaker Heights, a once affluent suburb on the east side of Cleveland, consisting of upper middle-class professionals, has changed in demographics over the past several decades. Today, those affluent professionals have relocated farther east to places like Solon or Chagrin Falls or moved out of state as the slow creep of the urban welfare class has made its way into the once prestigious suburb.
Obama, who cannot garner an audience in any place except a high school, has been targeting the 14-17 year-old audience of late. In this manner he can round up an enthusiastic gang of Kool Aid drinkers to provide him and the TV with a wildly applauding group hanging on his every word while not knowing a damn thing about the content of his remarks. This is the way Obama will be campaigning for the next months. He can’t even use college campuses; he has to resort to high schools so he can capture the fertile minds of the uninformed.
Unlike his “fairness” speech at Osawatomie, Kansas last month that was pack full of lies and misinformation the focus of this speech was to defend his decision to go ahead and appoint Richard Cordray as head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) without securing the Senate confirmation that is required by the U.S. Constitution.
Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution states that the president:
“shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. 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."
So the question arises, is the Congress in recess? Let’s turn to Article I, Section 5 which states:
“Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.”
The operative words in Article 2, Section 2 are “with the Advice and Consent of the Senate” and the operative words; without the Consent of the other. Since the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has not adjourned the House the Senate is not therefore in recess.
Since the Senate is not currently in recess, and the Congress did not give Obama the power to name the head of CFPB without Senate approval. Nonetheless, Obama has appointed Cordray without the constitutionally mandated Senate approval. Obama is acting outside of the Constitution and the rules of the Congress like a dictator
Last year, Obama nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to run the CFPB, which was established by the controversial Dodd-Frank financial reform law in 2010. The Senate did not confirm Cordray.
Obama spoke on Wednesday in Cordray’s home state at the Shaker Heights High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio:
“Without a director in place, the consumer watchdog agency we’ve set up is left without the tools it needs to prevent dishonest mortgage brokers, payday lenders, and debt collectors from taking advantage of consumers,” Obama said. “That’s inexcusable. It’s wrong. And I refuse to take no for an answer.”
Obama said Cordray has the support of Republican and Democratic state attorneys general from across the country, and of a majority of the Senate.
“The only reason Republicans in the Senate have blocked Richard is because they don’t agree with the law setting up the consumer watchdog,” Obama said. “They want to weaken it. Well, that makes no sense at all. Does anyone think the reason we got in such a financial mess was because of too much oversight? Of course not.”
We shouldn’t be weakening oversight and accountability,” said Obama. “We should be strengthening it--especially when it comes to looking out for families like yours. Financial firms have armies of lobbyists in Washington looking out for their interests. It’s time someone fought for you, too.”
Before his nomination, Cordray served as attorney general of Ohio from January 2009 to January 2011. He served two years as Ohio’s state treasurer and four years as the treasurer of Franklin County, Ohio.
In 2008 candidate Sen. Barack Obama famously said: “This is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he is going along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We are not going to use signing statements as a way of doing and end run around Congress.”
Now, we find that not only was he kidding about signing statements – he recently used one to ignore about 20 provisions of the omnibus spending bill – but Obama also believes he can decide for himself that the Senate is in recess when it is not, overturn at least a hundred years of precedent, and bypass the Constitution’s advice and consent requirement.
Moreover, the president now considers it a political virtue that he is doing precisely what he criticized George Bush for doing: “make laws as he is going along.” Obama now says: “I refuse to take 'No' for an answer… when Congress refuses to act in a way that hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.”
If he were acting within the confines of the law and the Constitution, the argument might make sense. But Obama has now adopted a theory of executive power so expansive that a reporter at a recent press conference understandably asked whether the president believes we have a virtual monarchy, a president of unlimited powers subject only to periodic elections but not to the rule of law.
According to a 1993 brief from the Clinton Justice Department, Congress must remain adjourned for at least three days before the adjournment constitutes a “recess” for the purposes the recess appointment power.
The origin of this three day period is Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution, which states: “Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days.”
In other words, the president can only recess appoint when the Senate has adjourned for more than three days, and the Senate cannot adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the House. Speaker John Boehner has properly withheld that consent to prevent Obama from installing radical appointees into key positions.
There is recent precedent for this action and for its legitimacy. In fact, then-Obama Solicitor General Elena Kagan wrote to the Supreme Court on April 26, 2010: “Although a President may fill such vacancies through the use of his recess appointment power the Senate may act to foreclose this option by declining to recess for more than two or three days at a time over a lengthy period. For example, the Senate did not recess intrasession for more than three days at a time for over a year beginning in late 2007.”
Obama’s attempt to “recess appoint” Richard Cordray while the Senate is in pro forma session is especially galling in light of the history of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the broad powers that Cordray – if Obama’s sleight of hand is permitted by the courts – will wield over the United States economy.
The CFPB has the power to interfere with every consumer financial transaction in the economy. It is housed in the Federal Reserve and funded out of Fed operations, not congressional appropriations, avoiding effective congressional oversight and in total contradiction of Article I, Section 8.
All power is vested in one individual – now, presumably Cordray – with no board or commission. None of this was part of Elizabeth Warren’s original design, which included a five-member commission that was funded and overseen by Congress. Senate Republicans have correctly called for reforms to make the new agency accountable before confirming a nominee and allowing it to begin writing rules that could have a major negative impact on the economy.
Last year, 44 Senate Republicans said they would not confirm any nominee as director, regardless of party, until structural changes were made to the bureau’s accountability. “But once again, the President has chosen to circumvent the confirmation process,” McConnell said.
“The CFPB is poised to be one of the least accountable and most powerful agencies in Washington,” McConnell said. “Created by the deeply flawed Dodd-Frank law, it is subject to none of the checks that independent agencies normally operate under, and will have an unprecedented reach and control over individual consumer decisions.”
Cordray should be willing to testify before Congress for a Jan. 24 hearing, said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Services.
“The President should stop allowing his Chicago political campaign to make his Washington policy decisions,” McHenry said in a written statement. “The unprecedented appointment of Mr. Cordray runs counter to the constitutional requirements for a recess appointment and Obama’s own campaign pledge to run ‘the most transparent administration in history.’ There are legitimate policy concerns about the structure of the CFPB. They can be reconciled, but the president refuses to even have the conversation.”
On his radio show last night, Mark Levin, a constitutional expert and president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, declared that President Barack Obama has caused a “constitutional crisis” caused by appointing members to the National Labor Relations Board and a director to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without going through the constitutionally required Senate confirmation process. Levine said:
"The President of the United States is trashing the Constitution now day in and day out,”
Obama’s actions are the moves of a wanabe dictator in the vein of Mussolini, Hitler, Castro, Lenin Stalin, Peron, and Chavez. Every one of these fellows usurped the law of the land the take extra constitutional powers in the name of the people. In the words of Herman Cain, “how did that work out?” If you watch enough of the History Channel you will see hour after hour of how nations fell into totalitarian dictatorship when enough of the population drank enough of the Kool Aid to support the man who promised them bread and circus.
Our founding fathers were extremely wary of what power the president should have. After having stepped out from under the yoke of a sovereign king they wanted to clearly define what powers a president, congress and a supreme court should have. While not wanting to hamstring the president in matters of national security, his primary constitutional function, they did, however, want to limit his power over domestic policy and the public purse.
With this in mind they developed a tripartite form of a republic where congress and the president had equal, but separate powers. Obama has spit in the eyes of the founders and the Constitution, something to which he has no loyalty. He stated so much in 2008 radio interview.
Obama believes, as do all statists, utopians, progressives, and liberals that their superior knowledge and powers of persuasion are the answer to all of our problems. They have a direct pipeline to the Almighty and they what is best for us mere mortals. Every tyrant in the history of the world has taken this tack and Obama is no different than a Hitler or a Mussolini. After all didn’t Hitler bring full employment to Germany and build the autobahns and Mussolini made the trains in Italy run on time. Progressives in this nation and Great Britain spoke highly of them at the time. After all they were transforming their nations and looking after the middle class.
Obama doesn’t care. He’s making is up as he goes along. What a difference four years makes.