Presidential Appointment Powers Must be Limited Soon
By now, everyone pretty much agrees that President Obama overstepped his boundaries and constitutional authorization back on January 4th, 2012. Don’t remember what happened that day? It was when he gave the head of the Consumer Financial Bureau, Richard Cordray a recess appointment. All of this eventually led to recent, troubling events. Cordray, who despite his job title is still simply a private citizen, has issued lots of potentially game-changing decisions on the part of the CFPB.
In the case of State National Bank of Big Springs v. Lew, the judge said that Cordray was able to wave around a “magic wand” to help retroactively make his actions the law of the land. So then, the decision to grant recess to Cordray, and to ultimately keep him in a place of artificially inflated authority, has eroded the Constitution’s very direct instructions that limit the appointment powers of the President of the United States and will likely set a precedent that future presidents will adhere to.
Back on that infamous date in 2012, Obama was quite busy making recess appointments. These included Cordray’s and several appointments to appoint personnel to vacant job openings on the National Labor Relations Board. The Supreme Court ruled against Obama’s wishes with regards to the case of NLRB v. Noel Canning. To this day, this particular ruling states that recess appointments were not authorized because senate was in session on that day.
What can be done now to curb the actions taken by officials who were not properly appointed? The CRPF and NLRB both took dramatically different approaches to this very situation. The NLRMB looked over all of the actions taken while members who were appointed in recess were calling the shots and wound up issuing new decisions that negated the previous ones.
That is nothing at all the approach that Richard Cordray took. Instead, he gave carte blanche approval to all of the actions he took between January 2012 and July 2013. During this time he issued a Federal Register notice that he indicated would ratify the actions he took during that time. However, no details were included that outlined any specific actions taken and there were no suggestions in the notice that he took time to look over his previous decisions. According to Cordray, “the actions I took during the [18-month] period … were legally authorized and entirely proper.” Some of the actions that he allegedly ratified were multiple regulations that the CFPB put in place to enforce actions that were the direct results of rulings in federal courts that were levied against private U.S. citizens.
Cordray now stands in a position where he is poised to put even more regulations in place; regulations that could very well decimate established industries in this country. For example, the CFPB’s latest proposed rules for the payday lending industry – obviously meant to help Cordray grind a personal axe against the industry – are rules that may very well drive hundreds of legit businesses out of the industry. At the same time, access to short term lines of credit for lower income American consumers will dry up considerably if these payday lending companies are unable to stay in business.
Obama has had his fair share of criticism during his nearly 8 years in office. When the ramifications of the recess appointment given to Cordray are considered, it is easy to understand why so many people feel that a lot of the criticism leveled against Obama is completely justified. Cordray and his staff at the CFPB have proven time and again that they will do what they want, when they want. And if anyone doesn’t like that, they will just have to deal with it. Is this the kind of leader we really want heading up a powerful organization, like the CFPB?
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