Conservatives Shoot Own Feet In Recess Appointment Case

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Can a president make a recess appointment if the Senate leaves town but declares itself in session anyway? The Supreme Court heard arguments on this question yesterday, and judging from the questioning, it looks like the answer is going to be no. Even the liberal justices seem inclined to tell President Obama that it’s up to the Senate to decide when it’s in recess, even if the recess is a bit of a sham. Jonathan Bernstein provides some of the background here.

Fair enough, I suppose. But it sure is bad timing for the conservatives who are pressing this case. After all, it doesn’t really matter anymore, now that Harry Reid has done away with the filibuster for presidential confirmations. Obama no longer needs to make any recess appointments because Democrats can just confirm his nominees in the usual way. That could change after the midterm elections if Republicans take back the Senate, but it probably won’t. And either way, the electoral landscape almost guarantees that Democrats will retain (or regain) control of the Senate in 2016.

In other words, effectively doing away with recess appointments probably won’t hurt Democrats at all over the next few years, but might very well hurt Republicans if they win the White House in 2016. Nice work, conservatives.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate