President Obama flouts Congress

The President is not only planning to campaign against Congress.  He is evidently going to govern against Congress as well.  He has said that he is going to start implementing his programs by executive order.  Now he has pulled something that seems to me to be extremely radical.

As a way to get around Congressional refusal to approve some people he has wanted to appoint to office–including someone to head an especially controversial new consumer protection bureau–he made three “recess” appointments,  a maneuver that allows the executive to appoint people provisionally when Congress is not in session.  The problem is, Congress is still in session!  They are not in recess!  But he has appointed these officials anyway, even though the law requires Congressional ratification!

Does this constitute a coup?  A constitutional crisis?  An impeachable offense?

How can this possibly be defended under the rule of law?  (“They won’t approve my nominees” is not  reason enough, since that is always a possibility if Congress has the authority to ratify appointments or not.  Nor is “Congress is dysfunctional.”)

Obama defies Congress with ‘recess’ picks – Washington Times.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Those on the left are always justified in their power grabbing maneuvers because the ends justify the means, and their goals are lofty and true.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Those on the left are always justified in their power grabbing maneuvers because the ends justify the means, and their goals are lofty and true.

  • Lou G.

    This is exactly the kind of thing that is going to make sure Obama doesn’t get re-elected. In one sense, recess appointments have been practiced by the past three presidents, and bemoaned by the opposing party. But when Congress isn’t even in recess, to shove things through this way really takes a questionable practice (practiced by both Bush and Clinton) to the next level of unconstitutionality. Even the liberal press is bringing this up against him. So, if he keeps these tactics up, it’s going to seriously impact his re-election prospects (not to mention how much it harms our country).

  • Lou G.

    This is exactly the kind of thing that is going to make sure Obama doesn’t get re-elected. In one sense, recess appointments have been practiced by the past three presidents, and bemoaned by the opposing party. But when Congress isn’t even in recess, to shove things through this way really takes a questionable practice (practiced by both Bush and Clinton) to the next level of unconstitutionality. Even the liberal press is bringing this up against him. So, if he keeps these tactics up, it’s going to seriously impact his re-election prospects (not to mention how much it harms our country).

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    I dunno, Lou.

    Those on the left will vote for anybody, as long as they AREN’T Republicans.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    I dunno, Lou.

    Those on the left will vote for anybody, as long as they AREN’T Republicans.

  • http://LeitersburgLutheran.org Terry Culler

    A couple of issues here. First, recess appointments are allowed by the constitution and have been used for many years, not just by the last 3 administrations. Second, they are time limited. Third, whether the president likes it or not, Congress still controls the money. He can put his people in an office but he can’t make Congress fund them. Fourth, Obama is playing a game here trying to make his base happy and set the Republicans up as fall guys. Fifth, Congress is not in session and the game they are playing on the Hill was wrong when they did it so Bush couldn’t do recess appointments and it’s wrong now.

  • http://LeitersburgLutheran.org Terry Culler

    A couple of issues here. First, recess appointments are allowed by the constitution and have been used for many years, not just by the last 3 administrations. Second, they are time limited. Third, whether the president likes it or not, Congress still controls the money. He can put his people in an office but he can’t make Congress fund them. Fourth, Obama is playing a game here trying to make his base happy and set the Republicans up as fall guys. Fifth, Congress is not in session and the game they are playing on the Hill was wrong when they did it so Bush couldn’t do recess appointments and it’s wrong now.

  • Pingback: Pull the Parachute « ~ BLOGGER.GUNNY.G.1984+. ~ (BLOG & EMAIL)

  • Pingback: Pull the Parachute « ~ BLOGGER.GUNNY.G.1984+. ~ (BLOG & EMAIL)

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Constitutional crisis? Hardly. Don’t you know the Constitution is dead? Wait… or is it ‘living’? Eh; same thing.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Constitutional crisis? Hardly. Don’t you know the Constitution is dead? Wait… or is it ‘living’? Eh; same thing.

  • SKPeterson

    Yeah, like Matt said, since when in the last 100 years have we bothered with that antiquated Constitution? I mean why not appoint officials to agencies that have no Constitutional rationale? We’ve been doing that for decades. Ignoring the Constitution and the rule of law is now well-established American political practice. The only time anyone appeals to the Constitutional protections or enumerated rights is in order to use them for political advantage, or to force other people to do what we want, or to appeal for some financial benefit. And when we do ignore the Constitution, it is because we are standing in the best traditions of the Constitution, the Founders and American jurisprudence. Our political opponents, however, are tyrants who seek to use the Constitution to further their own nefarious ends.

    Pot and kettle. Republican and Democrat. President and Congress.

  • SKPeterson

    Yeah, like Matt said, since when in the last 100 years have we bothered with that antiquated Constitution? I mean why not appoint officials to agencies that have no Constitutional rationale? We’ve been doing that for decades. Ignoring the Constitution and the rule of law is now well-established American political practice. The only time anyone appeals to the Constitutional protections or enumerated rights is in order to use them for political advantage, or to force other people to do what we want, or to appeal for some financial benefit. And when we do ignore the Constitution, it is because we are standing in the best traditions of the Constitution, the Founders and American jurisprudence. Our political opponents, however, are tyrants who seek to use the Constitution to further their own nefarious ends.

    Pot and kettle. Republican and Democrat. President and Congress.

  • Kirk

    Along with the issues that Terry raised, there is another one that makes this situation a little less black and white: Obama has the votes in the Senate to confirm all of these appointments. The Republicans were preventing confirmation by filibusterering. So he’s not defying the will of Congress, per se, he’s more circumventing parliamentary procedure.

    And Congress is only sort of in session. The majority of congressmen have returned to their constituencies, but a few remain to hold proforma sessions. Basically, every 72 hours or so, a congressman calls the legislature to order and then 30 seconds later adjourns the session. There’s not voting or debating, just a call and dismissal. This is a fairly new tactic, pioneered by Democrats during the Bush administration, to prevent recess appointments. It’s constitutionality has never been challenged, which is obviously going to happen now.

    I always side with the legislature in questions of executive power, but I’m interested to see how this all pans out. Fun times!

  • Kirk

    Along with the issues that Terry raised, there is another one that makes this situation a little less black and white: Obama has the votes in the Senate to confirm all of these appointments. The Republicans were preventing confirmation by filibusterering. So he’s not defying the will of Congress, per se, he’s more circumventing parliamentary procedure.

    And Congress is only sort of in session. The majority of congressmen have returned to their constituencies, but a few remain to hold proforma sessions. Basically, every 72 hours or so, a congressman calls the legislature to order and then 30 seconds later adjourns the session. There’s not voting or debating, just a call and dismissal. This is a fairly new tactic, pioneered by Democrats during the Bush administration, to prevent recess appointments. It’s constitutionality has never been challenged, which is obviously going to happen now.

    I always side with the legislature in questions of executive power, but I’m interested to see how this all pans out. Fun times!

  • Tom Hering

    “The problem is, Congress is still in session! They are not in recess!”

    Members have been home since before Christmas. But Congress is in pro forma session, a tactic used to block recess appointments. A member from each chamber shows up every three days, and gavels in. Moments later, they gavel out. Which took all of forty seconds yesterday.

    (The use of pro forma was threatened in the 1990s, but Senator Reid was the first to actually use it, in 2007.)

  • Tom Hering

    “The problem is, Congress is still in session! They are not in recess!”

    Members have been home since before Christmas. But Congress is in pro forma session, a tactic used to block recess appointments. A member from each chamber shows up every three days, and gavels in. Moments later, they gavel out. Which took all of forty seconds yesterday.

    (The use of pro forma was threatened in the 1990s, but Senator Reid was the first to actually use it, in 2007.)

  • Tom Hering

    I guess I was writing my comment while Kirk was posting his. Great minds and all that. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    I guess I was writing my comment while Kirk was posting his. Great minds and all that. :-D

  • Random Lutheran

    If you want a preview of the next twenty-thirty years, read up on Late Republic Rome. We can be thankful that there are no capable individual politicians on stage right now; be deeply wary of the next one to raise his head. The Imperial Presidency has been under construction for generations; it lies waiting for someone with the ability and willingness to wield it.

  • Random Lutheran

    If you want a preview of the next twenty-thirty years, read up on Late Republic Rome. We can be thankful that there are no capable individual politicians on stage right now; be deeply wary of the next one to raise his head. The Imperial Presidency has been under construction for generations; it lies waiting for someone with the ability and willingness to wield it.

  • Cincinnatus

    Labeling this unconstitutional seems, as other have pointed out, to be a tad hysterical. Obviously, recess appointments are unproblematic. The problem here is that Obama has made an immediate appointment when, in the past, Presidents have waited at least three days after a recess has begun to make an appointment. So Obama is ostensibly violating a procedural precedent of rather ancient vintage, but he’s hardly precipitating a constitutional crisis.

    In fact, however, the real problem seems to be these pro forma sessions. How can the President ever make recess appointments if Congress is never, in fact, in recess? More to the point, isn’t it a problem is Congress never goes into a recess and uses shallow technicalities to circumvent the Constitutional requirements? Like Kirk, I always side with the legislature in showdowns between the executive and Congress, and I am glad to see Congress occasionally collecting the mettle to challenge any President on anything (the last century, after all, has been the tale of a Congress sitting on its hands and ceding ever more authority to the executive).

    But the pro forma thing is troubling nonetheless. And it seems to have been a poor decision by Obama. Are these czars and bureaucrats really so popular in the public eye that Obama should have been willing to exude even the appearance of flouting the Constitution? I doubt it.

  • Cincinnatus

    Labeling this unconstitutional seems, as other have pointed out, to be a tad hysterical. Obviously, recess appointments are unproblematic. The problem here is that Obama has made an immediate appointment when, in the past, Presidents have waited at least three days after a recess has begun to make an appointment. So Obama is ostensibly violating a procedural precedent of rather ancient vintage, but he’s hardly precipitating a constitutional crisis.

    In fact, however, the real problem seems to be these pro forma sessions. How can the President ever make recess appointments if Congress is never, in fact, in recess? More to the point, isn’t it a problem is Congress never goes into a recess and uses shallow technicalities to circumvent the Constitutional requirements? Like Kirk, I always side with the legislature in showdowns between the executive and Congress, and I am glad to see Congress occasionally collecting the mettle to challenge any President on anything (the last century, after all, has been the tale of a Congress sitting on its hands and ceding ever more authority to the executive).

    But the pro forma thing is troubling nonetheless. And it seems to have been a poor decision by Obama. Are these czars and bureaucrats really so popular in the public eye that Obama should have been willing to exude even the appearance of flouting the Constitution? I doubt it.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @SKPeterson, #6

    “Ignoring the Constitution and the rule of law is now well-established American political practice. The only time anyone appeals to the Constitutional protections or enumerated rights is in order to use them for political advantage, or to force other people to do what we want, or to appeal for some financial benefit.”

    Do you mean to imply that Republicans (i.e., ‘DeceptiCONS’) have been guilty of this too?! Say it aint so Joe! Pffft! Such blasphemy will not be tolerated in our echo chamber (Fox News Studios)!

  • JunkerGeorg

    @SKPeterson, #6

    “Ignoring the Constitution and the rule of law is now well-established American political practice. The only time anyone appeals to the Constitutional protections or enumerated rights is in order to use them for political advantage, or to force other people to do what we want, or to appeal for some financial benefit.”

    Do you mean to imply that Republicans (i.e., ‘DeceptiCONS’) have been guilty of this too?! Say it aint so Joe! Pffft! Such blasphemy will not be tolerated in our echo chamber (Fox News Studios)!

  • David

    Timothy Noah at the New Republic has looked at this seems to think that it is still unconstitutional, even when the pro forma session is considered. He cites case law, so it’s worth the read.
    http://www.tnr.com/blog/timothy-noah/99229/cordrays-recess-appointment-sure-doesnt-look-constitutional-me
    In the end, what happened is unconstitutional, but nobody is going to put up that big a fight. This is the kind of power people in Washington want when they get into power. It makes it even easier if someone else sets the precedent and takes the heat for it.

  • David

    Timothy Noah at the New Republic has looked at this seems to think that it is still unconstitutional, even when the pro forma session is considered. He cites case law, so it’s worth the read.
    http://www.tnr.com/blog/timothy-noah/99229/cordrays-recess-appointment-sure-doesnt-look-constitutional-me
    In the end, what happened is unconstitutional, but nobody is going to put up that big a fight. This is the kind of power people in Washington want when they get into power. It makes it even easier if someone else sets the precedent and takes the heat for it.

  • L. H. Kevil

    Perhaps no one will put up a big fight, as David says. But Obama’s move is nonetheless unconstitutionally lawless. He took an oath to uphold the constitution and has violated it. Should this not constitute prima facie grounds for an impeachment trial?

  • L. H. Kevil

    Perhaps no one will put up a big fight, as David says. But Obama’s move is nonetheless unconstitutionally lawless. He took an oath to uphold the constitution and has violated it. Should this not constitute prima facie grounds for an impeachment trial?

  • Kirk

    @14

    No, I don’t think so. Obama can quite easily make the argument that what he’s doing is constitutional and that the pro forma sessions don’t constitute actual session. If this goes to the courts and is ruled unconstitutional, then the appointment simply won’t stand. If he refused to remove the appointees from office, then that could be considered ground for impeachment. If simply doing something unconstitutional was ground for impeachment then every law or action the courts over-turn would necessitate an impeachment process. Sorry to disappoint!

  • Kirk

    @14

    No, I don’t think so. Obama can quite easily make the argument that what he’s doing is constitutional and that the pro forma sessions don’t constitute actual session. If this goes to the courts and is ruled unconstitutional, then the appointment simply won’t stand. If he refused to remove the appointees from office, then that could be considered ground for impeachment. If simply doing something unconstitutional was ground for impeachment then every law or action the courts over-turn would necessitate an impeachment process. Sorry to disappoint!

  • JunkerGeorg

    I’m gladdened to see threads like this which question of constitutionality when it comes to anything in government. I agree that any tyrannical flaunting of the Constitution by the President representing either party ‘should’ be disconcerting to the members of BOTH parties. But that’s just it. It is not. At least not consistently and across the board.

    Even worse is when the vast majority of both parties disregard the limits of numerated power set by the Constitution, voluntarily ceding an absolute power to the Executive not granted by the Constitution, often in times of supposed “expediency” relative to “security”.

    Take for example the unconstitutionality of the impending “SOPA” internet censorship bill in Congress, which should concern blog owners like our own Gene Veith here at Cranach.

    Or better yet, take the passage of the recent “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA HR1540), passed by the vast majority representatives of both parties (only 13% of Congress, 6 Dems/6Repubs/1Inde, voted no…See the link: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=s2011-230) and signed into law by our good Chairman Mao Obama. Just look specifically at the provisions under Sections 1021 of the law concerning “counterterrorism”, where the President is granted such absolute power as being able to interminably arrest/detain any US citizen without any due process of law which the Constitution grants, without any trial to objectively examine the evidence to determine if indeed such a citizen is truly an ‘enemy of the state’.
    For sure, one will argue that it doesn’t directly say that, but given the ambiguity of who “covered persons” are, and that statutes are always enforced according to the subjective interpretation/application of the ruler in charge, then potentially say goodbye to your Bill of Rights! But don’t thank your congressman for taking what was yours. After all, such rights are God-given and can’t really be “taken”. They only can be voluntarily given up. So pat yourself on the back.

    Neocon candidates like Newt the Grinch and Sanatorium will assert that such is a matter of “National Security” in very appealing rhetoric that the “safety” of Americans is at stake. Given our open Southern border, no doubt most of the electorate will buy into this (as much as they do at the prospect of being “fenced in”). In other words, the sacrifice of individual liberties on the altar of “National Security” is seen as logically necessary.

    Sadly, while for the present such looks innocent and right, given sinful human nature (for those Christians left who still accept the Biblical doctrine of original sin), how can we possibly be willing to trust that such a ceding of absolute power to the Executive won’t eventually be of real benefit only to the Totalitarian State over/against the populace? The Arminian, original sin-rejecting “Christian Right” oh so easily re-translates Psalm 146:3 to say, “Put not your trust in Princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation, that is, unless they are a Republican holding up a Bible in their hand.” As long as they’re coddled in the right style, they’ll be usefull idiots to the NWO, to the Neocons and Bilderberger hirelings of both parties.

    They will be the first to pick up stones with the cry “Blasphemer!” over against the Ben Franklins who say things like, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”, and especially crazy old kook loons like Ron Paul who say this about the NDAA statute, “A dictator enjoys unrestrained power over the people. The legislative and judicial branches voluntarily cede this power or it’s taken by force. Most of the time, it’s given up easily, out of fear in time of war and civil disturbances, and with support from the people, although the dictator will also accumulate more power with the use of force.” (from his book, “Liberty Defined”)

    Yes, I know, I sound like a “conspiracy theorist”, you know, like anyone in Germany in 1933 who questioned the passage of the “Enabling Act” (“Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich”). And no doubt, in trusting their princes and entrusting them to authoritatively force their morality down everyone’s throats for their good, they would embrace words like this, “By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life.” (from Adolph Hitler’s speech to the Reichstag on behalf of the passage of the Enabling Act, March 23, 1933.)

  • JunkerGeorg

    I’m gladdened to see threads like this which question of constitutionality when it comes to anything in government. I agree that any tyrannical flaunting of the Constitution by the President representing either party ‘should’ be disconcerting to the members of BOTH parties. But that’s just it. It is not. At least not consistently and across the board.

    Even worse is when the vast majority of both parties disregard the limits of numerated power set by the Constitution, voluntarily ceding an absolute power to the Executive not granted by the Constitution, often in times of supposed “expediency” relative to “security”.

    Take for example the unconstitutionality of the impending “SOPA” internet censorship bill in Congress, which should concern blog owners like our own Gene Veith here at Cranach.

    Or better yet, take the passage of the recent “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA HR1540), passed by the vast majority representatives of both parties (only 13% of Congress, 6 Dems/6Repubs/1Inde, voted no…See the link: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=s2011-230) and signed into law by our good Chairman Mao Obama. Just look specifically at the provisions under Sections 1021 of the law concerning “counterterrorism”, where the President is granted such absolute power as being able to interminably arrest/detain any US citizen without any due process of law which the Constitution grants, without any trial to objectively examine the evidence to determine if indeed such a citizen is truly an ‘enemy of the state’.
    For sure, one will argue that it doesn’t directly say that, but given the ambiguity of who “covered persons” are, and that statutes are always enforced according to the subjective interpretation/application of the ruler in charge, then potentially say goodbye to your Bill of Rights! But don’t thank your congressman for taking what was yours. After all, such rights are God-given and can’t really be “taken”. They only can be voluntarily given up. So pat yourself on the back.

    Neocon candidates like Newt the Grinch and Sanatorium will assert that such is a matter of “National Security” in very appealing rhetoric that the “safety” of Americans is at stake. Given our open Southern border, no doubt most of the electorate will buy into this (as much as they do at the prospect of being “fenced in”). In other words, the sacrifice of individual liberties on the altar of “National Security” is seen as logically necessary.

    Sadly, while for the present such looks innocent and right, given sinful human nature (for those Christians left who still accept the Biblical doctrine of original sin), how can we possibly be willing to trust that such a ceding of absolute power to the Executive won’t eventually be of real benefit only to the Totalitarian State over/against the populace? The Arminian, original sin-rejecting “Christian Right” oh so easily re-translates Psalm 146:3 to say, “Put not your trust in Princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation, that is, unless they are a Republican holding up a Bible in their hand.” As long as they’re coddled in the right style, they’ll be usefull idiots to the NWO, to the Neocons and Bilderberger hirelings of both parties.

    They will be the first to pick up stones with the cry “Blasphemer!” over against the Ben Franklins who say things like, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”, and especially crazy old kook loons like Ron Paul who say this about the NDAA statute, “A dictator enjoys unrestrained power over the people. The legislative and judicial branches voluntarily cede this power or it’s taken by force. Most of the time, it’s given up easily, out of fear in time of war and civil disturbances, and with support from the people, although the dictator will also accumulate more power with the use of force.” (from his book, “Liberty Defined”)

    Yes, I know, I sound like a “conspiracy theorist”, you know, like anyone in Germany in 1933 who questioned the passage of the “Enabling Act” (“Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich”). And no doubt, in trusting their princes and entrusting them to authoritatively force their morality down everyone’s throats for their good, they would embrace words like this, “By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life.” (from Adolph Hitler’s speech to the Reichstag on behalf of the passage of the Enabling Act, March 23, 1933.)

  • DonS

    “How can the President ever make recess appointments if Congress is never, in fact, in recess? ”

    Well, Congressional recesses are not designed so that the President can circumvent the Senate to make recess appointments. The whole issue of making recess appointments during a session (i.e. a Congressional Session — a two-year cycle) is pretty shaky anyway. Historically, they were limited to periods of time between Congressional Sessions, which in the old days were quite lengthy.

    The bottom line here is the utter hypocrisy of Harry Reid. He invented the pro-forma session to prevent Bush from making recess appointments, and now he undermines his own invention in the name of baldly partisan politics. If you are going to invent a particular parliamentary practice for your own partisan political ends, it’s absurdly immoral to undermine the same practice when it is later used in precisely the same way by your opposition. In the present case, Republicans filibustered Cordray, not because they oppose him, particularly, but because they wanted agency reforms. That’s a legitimate political issue that should have been substantively addressed and negotiated using the political process, not through a banana republic power grab that totally disrespected the established parliamentary practices of a co-equal branch of government.

  • DonS

    “How can the President ever make recess appointments if Congress is never, in fact, in recess? ”

    Well, Congressional recesses are not designed so that the President can circumvent the Senate to make recess appointments. The whole issue of making recess appointments during a session (i.e. a Congressional Session — a two-year cycle) is pretty shaky anyway. Historically, they were limited to periods of time between Congressional Sessions, which in the old days were quite lengthy.

    The bottom line here is the utter hypocrisy of Harry Reid. He invented the pro-forma session to prevent Bush from making recess appointments, and now he undermines his own invention in the name of baldly partisan politics. If you are going to invent a particular parliamentary practice for your own partisan political ends, it’s absurdly immoral to undermine the same practice when it is later used in precisely the same way by your opposition. In the present case, Republicans filibustered Cordray, not because they oppose him, particularly, but because they wanted agency reforms. That’s a legitimate political issue that should have been substantively addressed and negotiated using the political process, not through a banana republic power grab that totally disrespected the established parliamentary practices of a co-equal branch of government.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “Does this constitute a coup? A constitutional crisis? An impeachable offense?

    How can this possibly be defended under the rule of law?”

    Thanks for raising such excellent questions. And for helping to bring visibility to Obama’s unethical behavior.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “Does this constitute a coup? A constitutional crisis? An impeachable offense?

    How can this possibly be defended under the rule of law?”

    Thanks for raising such excellent questions. And for helping to bring visibility to Obama’s unethical behavior.

  • Patrick Kyle

    Wow…..how totally unexpected, and sudden. For sure, didn’t see that coming.

  • Patrick Kyle

    Wow…..how totally unexpected, and sudden. For sure, didn’t see that coming.

  • Tom Hering

    JunkerGeorg @ 16, do you keep up with the news? The provision in the NDAA that allowed for the indefinite military detention, without trial, of U.S. citizens and lawful residents was opposed by the administration. In the end, Congress removed the provision, and when signing the NDAA, Obama reaffirmed his commitment to never sign such a provision into law.

  • Tom Hering

    JunkerGeorg @ 16, do you keep up with the news? The provision in the NDAA that allowed for the indefinite military detention, without trial, of U.S. citizens and lawful residents was opposed by the administration. In the end, Congress removed the provision, and when signing the NDAA, Obama reaffirmed his commitment to never sign such a provision into law.

  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@21,

    That’s a bit “spinny” don’t ya think? Obama can hem and haw about “serious reservations” all day long, but that won’t meaningfully mitigate the infamy of signing such an atrocious bill in the first place. Talk is cheap. Put up or shut up.

    Fortunately, Obama/Congress was able to keep “indefinite detention” provisions for everyone else, so Guantanamo is still 100% legit, it seems!

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@21,

    That’s a bit “spinny” don’t ya think? Obama can hem and haw about “serious reservations” all day long, but that won’t meaningfully mitigate the infamy of signing such an atrocious bill in the first place. Talk is cheap. Put up or shut up.

    Fortunately, Obama/Congress was able to keep “indefinite detention” provisions for everyone else, so Guantanamo is still 100% legit, it seems!

  • Tom Hering

    Guantanamo for al-Qaida and associated terrorists, yes. FEMA concentration camps for U.S. citizens, no. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Guantanamo for al-Qaida and associated terrorists, yes. FEMA concentration camps for U.S. citizens, no. :-D

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Tom Hering, #20

    Tom, yes, I try to keep up with the news, that is, when I can. If you can send me a link supporting your statement that “Congress removed the provision”, I would love to see it and would be much appreciative.

    As for the meantime, here is a news piece relative to NDAA from today, Jan 5th:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/language-of-ndaa-legal-to-imprison-americans-2012-1

    Quote from the article:

    “After signing the NDAA, Obama released a statement saying “the [NDAA] does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF. I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.”

    This appears to be untrue. The September 18, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) allows “[T]he President … to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

    The connection between detaining those responsible for 9/11, and imprisoning any “associated force” that acts like the terrorist group, seems unclear.”
    —-

    Tom, the point I tried to make in my last post was that ambiguity over the language can lead to any interpretation/application the ruler wishes. But believe me, I’d love to be shown where I am wrong on these troublesome provisions in the NDAA.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Tom Hering, #20

    Tom, yes, I try to keep up with the news, that is, when I can. If you can send me a link supporting your statement that “Congress removed the provision”, I would love to see it and would be much appreciative.

    As for the meantime, here is a news piece relative to NDAA from today, Jan 5th:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/language-of-ndaa-legal-to-imprison-americans-2012-1

    Quote from the article:

    “After signing the NDAA, Obama released a statement saying “the [NDAA] does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF. I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.”

    This appears to be untrue. The September 18, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) allows “[T]he President … to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

    The connection between detaining those responsible for 9/11, and imprisoning any “associated force” that acts like the terrorist group, seems unclear.”
    —-

    Tom, the point I tried to make in my last post was that ambiguity over the language can lead to any interpretation/application the ruler wishes. But believe me, I’d love to be shown where I am wrong on these troublesome provisions in the NDAA.

  • Tom Hering

    JunkerGeorg @ 24, what the “serious reservations” specifically refer to are limitations on the President’s ability to fight foreign terrorists. (AUMF language: “in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.”) The charge that he was a bit iffy about detaining U.S. citizens, but approved such detentions anyways, is false.

  • Tom Hering

    JunkerGeorg @ 24, what the “serious reservations” specifically refer to are limitations on the President’s ability to fight foreign terrorists. (AUMF language: “in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.”) The charge that he was a bit iffy about detaining U.S. citizens, but approved such detentions anyways, is false.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Tom Hering, #25

    Thanks for your perspective. Not trying to be stubborn, but I’m not convinced just yet that any/all language which could lead to the detention of US Citizens has been removed. If/when I am convinced, I’ll be the first to acknowledge your suggestion that it has been sufficiently removed and celebrate the fact. Will have to read some more when I get time, but gotta get back to work for now.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Tom Hering, #25

    Thanks for your perspective. Not trying to be stubborn, but I’m not convinced just yet that any/all language which could lead to the detention of US Citizens has been removed. If/when I am convinced, I’ll be the first to acknowledge your suggestion that it has been sufficiently removed and celebrate the fact. Will have to read some more when I get time, but gotta get back to work for now.

  • Tom Hering

    JunkerGeorg @ 26, I’d like to hear about anything that proves the possibility of detention is still there. Apart from a declaration of martial law.

  • Tom Hering

    JunkerGeorg @ 26, I’d like to hear about anything that proves the possibility of detention is still there. Apart from a declaration of martial law.

  • L. H. Kevil

    Hey Kirk, @15,

    I understand our points. But Obama can make all the arguments he wants; he is not the judge on when the Senate is in recess. Only the Senate can make that determination – separation of powers. Below is a link to John Yoo’s thoughts about the issue, with an interesting twist about how it might come before the courts:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/287264/richard-cordray-use-and-abuse-executive-power-john-yoo

  • L. H. Kevil

    Hey Kirk, @15,

    I understand our points. But Obama can make all the arguments he wants; he is not the judge on when the Senate is in recess. Only the Senate can make that determination – separation of powers. Below is a link to John Yoo’s thoughts about the issue, with an interesting twist about how it might come before the courts:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/287264/richard-cordray-use-and-abuse-executive-power-john-yoo

  • steve

    Of course while Obama never claimed to the “the uniter”, he nonetheless makes Bush look like a wunderkind of bipartisan statesmanship.

  • steve

    Of course while Obama never claimed to the “the uniter”, he nonetheless makes Bush look like a wunderkind of bipartisan statesmanship.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    My take here is that if Congress doesn’t take up impeachment after Obama’s (illegal) Obamacare waivers, his (not authorized by law) Most Children Left Behind waivers, Fast and Furious, and so on, there’s not a whole lot of hope Congress will “man up” and take Obama on regarding this.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    My take here is that if Congress doesn’t take up impeachment after Obama’s (illegal) Obamacare waivers, his (not authorized by law) Most Children Left Behind waivers, Fast and Furious, and so on, there’s not a whole lot of hope Congress will “man up” and take Obama on regarding this.

  • Pingback: Reagan’s Attorney General on Impeaching Obama, “Close to a Constitutional Crisis” | Western Journalism.com « ~ BLOGGER.GUNNY.G.1984+. ~ (BLOG & EMAIL)

  • Pingback: Reagan’s Attorney General on Impeaching Obama, “Close to a Constitutional Crisis” | Western Journalism.com « ~ BLOGGER.GUNNY.G.1984+. ~ (BLOG & EMAIL)


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X