I firmly believe the president's appointments in early January to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau were unconstitutional.
In fact, I have joined 30 others senators in signing a letter to Majority Leader Reid, asking why he is allowing the Senate's constitutional authority to be undermined. In the letter, we point out to him that in 2007 he used pro forma sessions to prevent President Bush from making similar recess appointments.
Under the U.S. Constitution, a president must submit certain positions within their administration to the U.S. Senate for their "advice and consent." This power to confirm officials and judges is very important in the separation of powers and was put into place by our Founding Fathers.
But in early January, the president ignored this requirement and appointed four people to his administration. He called them "recess appointments," which a president can do when the Senate is in recess. However, the Senate did not go on recess in January.
Furthermore, the president officially sent the three nominees for the National Labor Relations Board to the Senate just two days before the Senate left for Christmas. The lack of notice meant there was no opportunity for the normal background checks and hearings that all nominees go through.
Clearly, the president is ignoring constitutional precedent and the checks and balances in place. I will continue to press this issue and watch closely the legal challenges initiated by different groups also concerned about this abuse of power.