Trump's saber-rattling over recess appointments

"I think his constitutional power sitting here today, to adjourn Congress is virtually nil," says Presidential power expert Greg Willard.

The Randy Tobler Show
April 20, 2020 - 6:40 am

(KFTK) –  SLU Law professor and Presidential power expert, Greg Willard joined Randy.  

Randy was very interested in the latest threat by President Trump to "adjourn Congress" in order to make some "recess appointments" to his administration.

Willard says it doesn't seem likely, "the short answer to your question is, it was 99.8 percent saber-rattling and and point 2-percent Constitutional reality."

For decades, the Senate has held "pro-forma" sessions to avoid a period of recess, and un-confirmed appointments. A Supreme Court decision during President Obama's administration said that this was proper.

"President Obama sought to exercise a recess appointment of a senior official at the National Labor Relations board," says Willard.  "and it was challenged.  It went all  the way to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court said, in effect, Mr President, and all other Presidents, you lose. If the Senate is doing pro-forma sessions, then so be it, it is up to the Senate to decide when they are in session and when they are not."

Willard also weighed-in on prisoner releases or relocations amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"The power to do something like this rests with the governor," says Professor Willard.  "It's a tough decision, because you've  a public safety, and  a public health.  And that prisoner, he or she, has very very important rights under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and those darn well need to be protected."


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