Barack Hussein Obama only has a few short days left until he will have to hand over the presidency to Donald Trump, but he may choose to go out with a bang by doing something today that nobody saw coming…
Daily Mail reported that Obama may use the five-minute break between when the Senate gavels out of the 114th Congress and then into the 115th Congress to use his recess powers to finally appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. This would be an incredibly controversial move and Garland’s time on the highest court in the land would have an expiration date, as recess appointments only last until the conclusion of the congressional session, in this case December 2017.
Article II, section 2 of the constitution states that “the President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate.” However, the Supreme Court limited this power during Obama’s presidency with a 9-0 ruling in 2014 after he appointed three people to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 during a three-day recess in the middle of a congressional session.
The justices ruled that Obama’s appointments were invalid because the longer recess was interrupted by a “pro forma” session that saw the Senate gavel in and gavel out, but no business be conducted. This has been a common process since 2011 and has aimed to stop the president from making appointments such as these.
Obama tried to appoint Garland to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after his death in February. However, Republicans feared that allowing him to join Obama’s other picks, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, would pull the court left for decades. Because of this, Republicans chose to hold off on confirming Garland until after the presidential election in the hopes that their candidate would pull through and could nominate a conservative justice. They were so determined in this that they never even gave Garland a hearing.
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