POLITICS

McConnell: Ruling on NLRB ‘recess’ appointments is bad news for CFPB head

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hailed a federal court’s invalidation of President Obama’s so-called ‘recess appointments” as a victory for the balance of power, noting additionally that the ruling undermines the appointment of Obama’s top bank regulator.

“The D.C. Circuit Court today reaffirmed that the Constitution is not an inconvenience but the law of the land, agreeing with the owners of a family-owned business who brought the case to the Court,” McConnell said in a statement. The Senate Republicans had joined the plaintiffs in arguing that the appointments — made when the Senate was actually in session, by its own rules — were unconstitutional.

“This decision now casts serious doubt  on whether the President’s ‘recess’ appointment of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which the President announced at the same time, is constitutional,” McConnell said.

Obama bragged about the unilateral Cordray appointment yesterday when he re-nominated Cordray to continue in the post.

“[Cordray] wasn’t allowed an up or down vote in the Senate, and as a consequence, I took action to appoint him on my own,” Obama said.  “And over the last year, Richard has proved to be a champion of American consumers.”

The CFPB chief acknowledged in an email last year that his appointment might be overturned. “There is a chance (a minor chance in my view, though everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion) that the appointment would be invalidated by a court,” Cordray wrote to staff last February.

State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, has filed a lawsuit challenging Cordray’s appointment that could eventually be heard by the same court that just overturned the NLRB ‘recess’ appointments, which were made on the same day as the Cordray appointment.

The Washington Examiner’s Phil Klein took a look at the D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling. “The key takeaway is that the Court determined that under the Constitution, the President’s recess authority is very limited to making appointments to positions that become vacant while the Senate is in the recess between sessions of Congress,” Phil explains. “Each Congress last two years, divided up into a ‘session’ each year. If the Supreme Court adopts this view it would severely restrict the President’s authority to make recess appointments. ”

 

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