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Barack Obama, Legal Scholar, Defies the Constitution

By   /   January 18, 2012  /  

President Obama has crossed the line by making recess appointments while Congress is not actually in recess. Congress was in pro forma sessions when the president appointed Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau directorship and appointed three members to the NLRB. Contrary to the smoke and mirrors being set up by the liberal media to suggest that this is exactly what George Bush did, it is not.

George Bush made 171 recess appointments, but they were all during actual congressional recesses. When Senate Democrats, including then-Senator Barack Obama, realized they could prevent President Bush from making appointments by keeping Congress in session through vacations, they seized on the chance. Bush, for once, abided by the Constitution’s mandate and did not make recess appointments during the pro forma sessions. President Obama has brashly, and perhaps illegally, made recess appointments during pro forma sessions of Congress. This is unprecedented no matter how much the liberal media tries to paper over it. (See this report by the Congressional Research Service for the whole story on Bush’s recess appointments.)

Were the president to be prosecuted for such an abuse of power, he would have a hard time pleading ignorance. During the 2008 campaign, Senator Obama’s purported credentials for office included, not in small amount, his constitutional scholarship. Back then, Ed Lasky at the American Thinker took on the task of vetting Mr. Obama’s scholarly credentials and found him lacking. Here are a few clippings from Lasky’s article.

Regarding the president’s days as the president of the Harvard Law Review:

One thing he did not do while at the review was publish his own work. The absence of a paper trail is a pattern throughout his academic and to some extent his political career.

On the president’s legal scholarship:

Indeed, he has left little in the way of a record for Americans to judge his legal abilities. No written records, no signed legal papers, no research papers authored or co-authored by him. Nothing.

Mr. Lasky continues:

Although he was president of the Harvard Law Review as a student, in which capacity he no doubt wrote some unsigned notes, a search of the HeinOnline database of law journals turns up exactly nothing credited to Obama in any law review anywhere at any time. This is yet more indication that his status as “lecturer” at Chicago was not a regular faculty appointment, since regular full-time faculty are expected to produce scholarship. Notwithstanding an apparent eleven-year teaching career in constitutional law at a top-flight law school, not one single article, published talk, book review, or comment of any kind, appears anywhere in the professional legal literature, under Barack Obama’s name.

So how does President Obama defend himself from the charge that he abused his constitutional power in making recess appointments while Congress was still in session? Perhaps the real legal scholars can figure it out.

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Bob Levy is Chairman of The Cato Institute

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