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Archive of entries posted on February 2012

The Purposes of the Recess Appointments Clause

At first blush, the purpose of the Recess Appointments Clause seems rather obvious- it enables the President to fill offices temporarily when the Senate is not available to provide its advice and consent with regard to a permanent appointment. As Professor Michael Herz observes, the RAC’s purpose seems “sensible, straightforward, and unquestioned.” Yet it may [...]

The Recess Appointments Clause, the Civil War Congress and Congressional “Acquiescence”

When we left the Recess Appointments Clause in the mid-19th century (for earlier posts, see here, here and here), the executive branch had embraced the proposition that a vacancy “may happen” in the recess of the Senate even though it first arose while the Senate was in session. The legislative branch had not accepted this [...]

Ethical Dilemma

Friday’s letter from the House Ethics Committee indicates that Billy Martin was asked “to review allegations that this Committee violated due process rights or rules attaching to Representative Waters.” Martin was also asked “to address whether recusal of any Members of the Committee should be considered and when would be the most appropriate time for [...]

Who Was the Mystery Witness Invoking the Fifth Before the House Ethics Committee?

According to a letter sent today by the House Ethics Committee to the Speaker, outside counsel Billy Martin has spent a good deal of time reviewing “allegations that this Committee violated due process rights or rules attaching to Representative [Maxine] Waters.” However, Martin has been unable to complete the due process review because one “necessary witness” has [...]

Alec Rogers on “Mr. Speaker! The Life and Times of Thomas B. Reed, the Man who Broke the Filibuster”

My former colleague Alec Rogers has been kind enough to share this review of James Grant’s biography of Speaker Thomas Reed: James Grant is best known for his financial analysis, shared with those willing to part with a pretty penny, via the eponymous Grant’s Interest Rate Observer (current subscription rate: US$910).  For decades, Wall Streeters [...]

The Recess Appointments Clause, Original Vacancies and Attorney General Wirt

As discussed in my prior post on this subject, it seems to have been the prevailing view in the 1814 Senate that the President could not use the Recess Appointments Clause to fill a newly created statutory office, absent explicit authority in the law to do so. This view could rest on three different grounds. [...]

Inappropriate Behavior?

House Rule XI (g)(5) provides (5) To the maximum extent practicable, each committee shall— 
(A) provide audio and video coverage of each hearing or meeting for the transaction of business in a manner that allows the public to easily listen to and view the proceedings; and 
(B) maintain the recordings of such coverage in a [...]

The Recess Appointments Clause and the War of 1812

To continue our discussion of the Recess Appointments Clause, I would like to revisit a debate that took place on the Senate floor in March 1814. It concerned actions taken by President Madison earlier that year, while the Senate was in recess. Having received an offer from Czar Alexander of Russia to help mediate an [...]