It's a mistake to excuse Obama's disregard for the Constitution. Precedents set now will be exploited by the next administration.
I think that the appointments made, when he alleges that the Senate was in recess, will ultimately stand but that it has the potential to be a truly pyrrhic victory for the Democratic Party.
If the appointments stand, the precedent that pro forms sessions cannot be used to block recess appointments will clearly be used by future Republican administrations, possibly beginning in 2013 to bypass the Democrats in the Senate in the confirmation process.
No reasonable person is going to argue that the Republicans have obstructed the confirmation process for political reasons in recent years, but the same obstruction was perfected as an art form by Leader Reid and the Democrats in the Senate to block appointments by President Bush.
And to eliminate that device from the opposition party tool box will have consequences in the future. As the saying goes, “what goes around comes around”.
This approach seems to be another “unilateral” action by the executive branch in defiance of the checks and balances provided by the three-branch system of government in this country.
The author of the article, Michael McConnell (a former federal judge, is a professor of law and director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution), sums it up nicely –
The English philosopher John Locke, who so influenced our Founding Fathers, wrote that a "good prince" is more dangerous than a bad one because the people are less vigilant to protect against the aggrandizement of power when they perceive the ruler as beneficent.
I fear many Democrats are falling into this trap. They like President Obama and his policies, and they are willing to look the other way when it comes to constitutional niceties. The problem is that checks and balances are important, precedents created by one administration will be exploited by the next, and not all princes are good.
Comments, counterpoints and smart remarks are all welcome and appreciated