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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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