Tele-debate Tomorrow on the Constitutionality of President Obama's Recent Recess Appointments

By Alan Z. Rozenshtein
Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 2:46 PM

The Constitution Project will be hosting a teleconference debate tomorrow (Wednesday) from 2:15 PM to 3:15 PM EST on the constitutionality of President Obama's recent recess appointments. Details below the fold.

The Constitution Project Hosts a Tele-Debate

Are the President's Recent Recess Appointments Constitutional?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 2:15 to 3:15 PM (Eastern)

President Obama ignited a significant controversy when he used recess appointments on January 4, 2012, to name Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and to fill three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board.

President Obama claimed that he had the power to take these actions under the authority granted to the executive in Article 2, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Some Republican senators and others strongly objected, saying the Senate was in "pro forma" session so the recess appointment power could not apply.

On January 6, the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion defending the lawfulness of the appointments, which it released to the public on January 12. In the meantime, the controversy has continued to rage. Now, you can hear the issue debated by two eminent legal scholars:

Professor Peter M. Shane

Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School for 2011-12. He is the Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law at the Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law. An expert in separation of powers and presidential authority, he served as an attorney-adviser in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel.

Professor Michael McConnell

Richard & Frances Mallery Professor and Director, Stanford Law School Constitutional Law Center, and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow. He is a leading authority on various aspects of constitutional history and constitutional law, and served as a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and in various positions in government, including Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Department of Justice under President Ronald Reagan.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
2:15 to 3:15 PM (Eastern)
(888)327-8914, passcode 9667817

This debate involves the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of our government, which is a fundamental tenet of our democratic system. Thus all Americans should be concerned about whether these appointments are constitutional, as well as about the tenor of the conversation.

The debate is limited to the first 75 participants who join the conversation. We hope you can join us.