Jacob Sullum on the Bipartisan Abuse of Recess Appointments


White House

Ed Meese, Ronald Reagan's attorney general, spoke for many Republicans when he called President Obama's 2012 appointment of four federal officials without Senate approval "a breathtaking violation of the separation of powers." But according to a recent federal appeals court decision, abuses like Obama's have been a bipartisan practice in recent decades, with Republicans, including Meese's former boss, more sinning than sinned against. Senior Editor Jacob Sullum explains how modern presidents have transformed a constitutional provision aimed at allowing them to fill posts when the Senate can't approve their choices into a tool for filling posts when the Senate won't approve their choices.