The Big Question: Should Obama push recess appointments?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer their insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today.




Today's question:


Should President Barack Obama appoint stalled nominees during the Presidents' Day recess?


Damon N. Spiegel, entrepreneur and writer, said:

Whether I or anyone else agrees with this or not is not the point. There is a strict methodology created to guide the appointment of officials which is governed by the Constitution of the United States.  In reality, if Obama were to do this he would be naively walking erect into an onslaught of Republican rapid fire. Imagine the commercials during the upcoming election showing pictures of Obama nominating people while the rest of the government is on recess with slogans of “Our President can only get the job done when no one is around. If you’re looking for transparency, then look someplace else.”


Alan Abramowitz, professor of political science at Emory University, said:

Absolutely.  He needs to send a message to Senate Republicans and to Democrats that he won't let the GOP's stalling tactics succeed.
 


Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, said:

No, Obama should not take advantage of the recess to push his own nominees through: what happened to "advise and consent"? Is the Constitution just an archaic document to be kept locked up and under glass, or is it meant to be observed?


John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society, said:

Appointing individuals during a congressional recess is wrong whether done by Mr. Obama or by any president.  If the U.S. Constitution requires congressional approval of an appointee, the process should not be circumvented.  So much of the Constitution is so routinely ignored, however, that this practice pales into relative insignificance.
 
Asked where in the Constitution they have authorization for involvement in education, housing, medicine, energy, foreign aid, and much more, run-of-the-mill congressman will say, "We're not prohibited from such involvement."  That, of course, turns the venerable Constitution on its head.  Yet, they all solemnly swear to uphold all portions of it. 
 
Sad to say, the American people are getting the kind of government we allow. 
 



Frank Askin, professor of law at Rutgers University, said:

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, recess appointments are the worst idea except for the alternatives.  Since the Republicans insist on a policy of obstructionism and would rather shut down the government than allow it to function, President Obama does not have many options. Nothing demonstrates Republican cynicism and obstructionism than the comment of Sen. Orrin Hatch warning the President not to "circumvent the will of the Senate" by making a recess appointment after the Senate had rejected the President's nominee for the National Labor Relations Board by a vote of 33 to 52. How out of touch with reality are people who believe the "will of the Senate" is expressed by a vote of 33 to 52!



Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, said:

Yes, the country needs those nominees appointed. Until all politicians
value country over politics and do the non-partisan thing, we need
measures like this.


Peter Navarro, professor of Economics and Public Policy at U.C. Irvine, said:

Blocking appointments is an infringement of administrative powers by a partisan legislature.  Any president should exercise this ability in the face of opposition from the opposing party.  It is particularly important for Obama to show his toughness.


Brad Delong, professor of Economics at the UC Berkley, said:

Definitely. It's 2010, not 2009. Only if you teach a mule that pointless recalcitrance will have adverse consequences will it move--and the U.S. Senate is an awful lot like a mule these days.