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Sen. Paul Joins Lawsuit Against President Obama’s Recess Appointments

Jan 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Sen. Rand Paul announced he will submit an amicus brief supporting a recent lawsuit filed by the National Right to Work Foundation (NRTW), the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and others, challenging the legality of President Barack Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Sen. Paul released the following statement following the court challenge:

"With the recent recess appointments, President Obama has circumvented our Constitution and showed complete disregard for the separation of powers. He has demonstrated once again that he is willing to treat the office of the Presidency like a dictatorship," Sen. Paul said.

"I intend to file an amicus brief and join the NRTW, the NFIB, and others in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of President Obama's appointments," Sen. Paul concluded. 

Also today in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Paul took to the Senate floor condemning the President for his unconstitutional usurpation of power. Below is the video and transcript of his address.





I rise today in defense of the Constitution.

I rise today to condemn the President for making appointments that are unconstitutional and illegal. Recently the President appointed members to the National Labor Relations Board and to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. He did so by saying we were in recess. Well this is news to us, because those of us in the Senate maintain that we were never in recess.

This is something where the President has usurped a power, never previously taken by a president. And has decided unilaterally that he gets to decide when were in recess. These appointments are illegal and unconstitutional. And I'm surprised. I am surprised that no member of the majority party has stood up to tell the President so.

Now I am not surprised that the President has engaged in unconstitutional behavior. His health care law is brazenly unconstitutional. His war with Libya was unconstitutional, he got no Congressional authority. So for a man who once gave lip service to the Constitution, the President now has become a president who is prone to lawlessness and prone to unconstitutional behavior.

Our founders clearly intended the president have the ability and the power to appoint advisors. But they also separated that power, and gave that power to the Senate to advise and consent on these high-ranking officers in government.

The President has gone and end a round on this and has done something that breaks with historical precedent. It goes against the notion of checks and balances. In fact, the notion that underlies the whole idea of recess appointments is mostly a historic relic.

Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist 67, the power was included so that the Senate did not have to remain in session year-round to deal with nominations. But this was also done in a time when Congress would go out of session for months at a time, to return to their farms and return to their businesses. Now Congress meets nearly year round.

So in other words, recess appointments should only happen rarely, and only in extreme occurrences, if at all. There also should be agreements that we are in recess and there is no agreement that we were in recess. 

There is a lot of talk about bi-partisan cooperation on the other side of the aisle. But I am disappointed that not one Senator has stood up to tell the President that this sets a terrible precedent. That this is a usurpation of power, that is bad for the country. Bad for the idea of checks and balances.

I am disappointed that not one Senator from the other side of the aisle has stood up to oppose this President on this unconstitutional power grab. This is an opportunity for us to stand together in defense of the Constitution.

I state now unequivocally that if a Republican President tries to usurp this power, if a Republican President tries to define a recess and appoint people illegally, I will stand here on the floor and oppose him.

This is not about being a Republican or Democrat; it's about having respect for the Constitution and these lawless, illegal, and unconstitutional appointments fly in the face of the respect for our Constitution.

This is an issue of separation of powers, of Constitutional authority and of Senate prerogative. It is sad, that not one member of the opposition party will stand up for the Constitution; will stand up to the President.

Make no mistake, this is a huge breach of precedent. If the President is allowed to determine when we are in recess, nothing prevents him from making recess appointments this evening at 8 o'clock; or on the weekend.

If this is allowed to stand, if this precedent is allowed to stand nothing stops the President from appointing a Supreme Court justice tonight at 8:00. Is that the kind of lawlessness we want in our country? Are we going to completely abandon the advise and consent role of the Constitution and of the Senate?

I ask today is there not one Senator from across the aisle who will stand up against this unconstitutional power grab? Is there not one Senator from across the aisle who will say to the President, that these illegal appointments set a terrible precedent? That these appointments will encourage a lawlessness, that these appointments eviscerate the advise and consent clause of the Constitution?

I ask my colleagues from across the aisle, where is your concern for the checks and balances? Where is your concern for the Constitution?

I am greatly saddened by this and I hope the President will reverse course. I hope the majority party in the Senate will stand up for the Constitution, but I am greatly disappointed in where we are in this debate.



Contact Senator Rand Paul at One of his Offices

Bowling Green - Main State Office
1029 State Street
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone: 270-782-8303

423 Federica St, Ste 305
Owensboro, KY 42301
Phone: 270-689-9085

Crescent Springs
541 Buttermilk Pk Ste 102
Crescent Springs, KY 41017
Phone: 859-426-0165

771 Corporate Dr, Ste 105
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: 859-219-2239

600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pl,
Rm 1072B
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: 502-582-5341

1100 S. Main St, Ste 12
Hopkinsville, KY 42240
Phone: 270-885-1212

Washington, DC
124 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-4343