Saturday, January 07, 2006
Goodbye US Constitution I
Under the Constitution, the president may avoid the Senate confirmation process and make appointments while the chamber is in recess. Such appointments usually are short-term, expiring at the end of next congressional session.The nature of this pro-forma session:
But because the Senate held a pro forma session Tuesday and then adjourned, the White House contends the second session of the 109th Congress has begun. Therefore, the White House believes Bush's nearly 20 recess appointments are valid until the following session, which won't conclude until the end of 2007.
- Tuesday, Jan 3, 2006 - The Senate convened at 12:00 noon for a pro forma session only and adjourned at 12:01 p.m. No record votes were taken.
- "Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days...", Article II; Section 2; US Constitution
- This section was included to prevent either chamber from blocking legislation through its refusal to meet. Each chamber takes very seriously its independence of the other body. To avoid having to ask the other chamber for permission to adjourn, the Senate and House simply conduct pro forma (as a matter of form) sessions to meet the three-day constitutional requirement. No business is conducted at these sessions, which generally last for less than one minute.
So the White House figures it can use this pro forma meeting to make an end-run around the Senate's Constitutional authority. Thus King George can do as he wishes and hold himself accountable to noone.
Let me start counting the ways we can say "Goodbye US Constitution, we knew thee well."