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The left used to hate recess appointments … when Bush made them

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,NLRB,Recess Appointments

Reason magazine’s Damon Root has an excellent post up noting the fairly blatant hypocrisy on the left regarding President Obama’s use of the recess appointment power. Hen notes they were singing a much different tune just a few years ago:

In January 2006, The New York Times published an unsigned editorial attacking “the grandiose vision of executive power” displayed by President George W. Bush, who was then battling Senate Democrats over the fate of several controversial nominees to federal office. “Seizing the opportunity presented by the Congressional holiday break, Mr. Bush announced 17 recess appointments—a constitutional gimmick,” announced the Times.

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Like George W. Bush before him, President Barack Obama has also invoked the recess appointment power under dubious circumstances. But unlike Bush, Obama decided to bulldoze right over the inconvenient fact that the Senate was conducting a pro forma session at the time. On January 4, 2012, Obama made four purported recess appointments when the Senate was not actually in recess, including the addition of three members to the National Labor Relations Board.

That unprecedented unilateral action triggered last Friday’s sharp ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which found Obama’s three NLRB appointments to be in violation of the Constitution. Obama’s tactics, said the D.C. Circuit, “would demolish the checks and balances inherent in the advice-and-consent requirement, giving the President free rein to appoint his desired nominees at any time he pleases, whether that time be a weekend, lunch, or even when the Senate is in session and he is merely displeased with its inaction. This cannot be the law.”

So how did the editorial board of The New York Times respond to this decision? Given the paper’s previous stance in opposition to Bush’s recess appointments and “the grandiose vision of executive power” they embodied, you might expect the Gray Lady to cheer a judicial rebuke of Obama’s even greater abuse of that same executive power. But you would be wrong.

In an unsigned editorial titled “A Court Upholds Republican Chicanery,” the Times blasted the D.C. Circuit for placing limits on Obama’s authority. “With no sign that Republicans are willing to let up on their machinations, Mr. Obama was entirely justified in using his executive power to keep federal agencies operating,” the editorial declared.

So much for taking a principled stand against executive overreach.

Read the whole thing here. Read more Washington Examiner coverage of the recent Appeals Court recess appointee ruling here, here, here, here, here and here.

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Sean Higgins

Senior Writer
The Washington Examiner