Grassley said that when Seitz was being considered by the Senate for being appointed to the Justice Department, she assured the Senate that she would "not stand idly by" if the administration were to take steps that she believed to be unconstitutional. But Grassley said Seitz broke that trust.
Grassley acknowledged that Seitz did not stand idly by during this month's controversial recess appointments, but actually did something worse by becoming a "lackey for the administration."
"She wrote a poorly reasoned opinion that placed loyalty to the President over loyalty to the rule of law," he said.
Grassley argued more broadly that the Senate should take steps on its own to defend itself from what he said was the administration's decision to ignore the Constitution and make the recess appointments.
"The constitutional text in this situation is clear," Grassley said. "We must take appropriate action to see that it is done. Nor should we wait for the courts."
Grassley was not specific about how the Senate might proceed, although he did note that there is already one legal challenge against Obama's three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. Several observers have said the issue will likely be heard in court once a private party or parties challenges those appointments or the appointment of Richard Corday to the Consumer Financial Protection Board.
While Grassley implored the Senate to take some step in protest, he also put a finger on why his request could fall on deaf ears — support for Obama's appointments among Senate Democrats.
"Where is a member of the President's party today who is like a more recent Senate institutionalist, Robert C. Byrd?" Grassley asked. "He defended the powers of the Senate when Presidents overreached, even Presidents of his own party."