It has become common place for conservative “news” sources like Fox News to over react to everything that President Obama does. The most recent example of this is the hysteria over his recent recess appointments, which Fox News reported might be an impeachable offense.
First it should be noted that not only is Obama not the first president use recess appointments but he uses them half as much as George W. Bush, while Ronald Reagan had three times as many recess appointments per year as President Obama. Additionally, with a Democrat controlled Congress 75% of George W. Bush’s nominees were confirmed while only 57% of Obama’s nominees have been confirmed, thanks to a litany of delaying tactics used by Republicans.
Having said that, these recess appointments are slightly different due to another delaying tactic known as pro forma developed by Sen. Robert C. Byrd and later implemented by Harry Reid. Back when Harry Reid first implemented the pro forma sessions, some on the right as termed this tactic never ending obstructionism. Now that Obama is challenging the blocking of recess appointments, the right is defending the practice and claiming Obama’s actions are unconstitutional.
Which is it? Is pro forma a vital senatorial procedure or an obstructionist tactic? According to lawyers in the Bush administration there were examples of other Presidents (Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman) taking similar actions and these lawyers urged President Bush to ignore pro forma.
Based on this information it seems that both the Bush and Obama administrations have determined this action to not be unconstitutional. The good news is we have a system in place to shine a light on these grey areas of the law and it doesn’t rely on talking heads from the media.