AirTalk for January 5, 2012

Obama’s Cordray move causes political stir, raises Constitutional questions

Obama Nominates Richard Cordray To Head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) shakes hands with former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray during a presser to announce the nomination of Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Yesterday, President Barack Obama bypassed the U.S. Senate’s formal approval process and appointed Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Obama was able to do this as the Senate is in recess.

This political maneuver is nothing new, Clinton appointed 95 positions while Congress was in recess, and George W. Bush made 99. The thorny issue here is that this particular appointment occurred during a break of less than three days, and a president hasn’t moved so swiftly in such a short period since 1949.

Obama is drawing fire from some critics who feel this will only infuriate Republicans in Congress. That could cause a problem as other appointments must be made in the future, and bipartisan approval is required. But others welcomed Obama’s new fighting stance, and see it as a declaration of his readiness to rumble with Republicans as part of his 2012 re-election campaign.

What are the strengths of this type of strategy? Is Obama making a good move, or should he have waited for the Senate’s seal of approval? And, furthermore, is this even constitutional?


Kate Andersen Brower, White House Reporter for Bloomberg News

Karl Manheim, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School

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