Ten Miles Square


January 11, 2012 12:29 PM So is Congress in Recess or Not?

By Jonathan Bernstein

Diane Black, a first-term Member of the House from Tennessee, is apparently the lead cosponsor of a resolution condemning the recent recess appointments, but House Republicans might really want to reconsider their choice. Black, according to Roll Call (emphasis added):

“It’s astounding to me that the president is claiming these are recess appointments and within his authority, when Congress was not in fact in recess,” Black said. “These appointments are an affront to the Constitution. No matter how you look at this, it doesn’t pass the smell test. I hope the House considers my resolution as soon as we return to Washington so we can send a message to President Obama.”

She continued:

“What’s more, the NLRB appointments were jammed through by the president before the Senate even had the chance to consider the appointees. Their names were only put forward on Dec. 15, a mere two days before the Senate recessed for the holiday. The president is clearly out of bounds here and should not be allowed to skirt the Constitution as he pleases.”

Oh — in case you’re wondering whether maybe Roll Call botched the quotes…no, they’re taken directly from Black’s press release. So we’re to believe that it’s outrageous for the president to call what’s happening now a recess, and the House intends to take it up as soon as they get back into town after recessing for the holiday.

Well then. Case closed?

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.


  • Chris Wire on January 11, 2012 3:50 PM:

    Congress was not in recess, and the President does not get to decide when it is, or is not. It's called "separation of powers", which most people would know if a) the Constitution was accurately taught in schools, and b) the Constitution was actually respected in the education establishment.

    Pres. Bush did not make any recess appointments until Congress had been in recess for 10 days. The time period set by precedent, however, has been established at 3 days, (including by Obama's own Solicitor General's office) which is why the Senate was holding pro-forma sessions every 3 days over the holiday. When Harry Reid held pro-forma sessions in the Senate during the Bush administration, Pres. Bush honored the law. Pres. Obama has seen to it that he need only abide by those laws he actually agrees with.

    Apparently the Constitution is simply a mere inconvenience to King Obama, whose reign shall end soon.

  • Yossarian on January 12, 2012 9:43 AM:

    Chris Wire = shitfaced loser (and innocent of all facts regarding the anti-democratic, seditious and treasonous mutant life-forms known as "Republicans")

    Take your "King Obama" comments and shove them down your tea-bagged gullet.

  • Raspuitin22 on January 12, 2012 12:05 PM:

    No doubt Congresswoman Black is utterly lacking in the irony department.