Lee Responds to the President’s Address

January 28, 2012

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee responded to the President’s weekly address that singled out Senator Lee and criticized his vow to hold the President accountable for his unconstitutional recess appointments.

“The President’s recent recess appointments were unconstitutional. As a Senator, sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, I am duty-bound to resist the president’s actions and seek to restore our nation's proper constitutional order.

“Ironically, the President invoked our Founding Fathers in his remarks claiming they did not envision such a defense of our constitutional rights. In fact, the Founding Fathers specifically instituted a system of checks and balances designed to protect American liberties against the unrestrained power of a tyrannical Executive. The Founders worried that one branch would attempt to assert its will over the others, so they supplied each branch with tools and incentives to resist such encroachments. That is what I am exercising here.

“Sadly, the President has sought to make this a partisan issue; but the Constitution is not partisan. The Constitution does not allow any president, Republican or Democrat, to circumvent the Senate in making appointments, and I will resist, just as vigorously, members of my own party who would attempt to do the same thing.

“I ask the President to stop campaigning briefly and reread the relevant portions of the Constitution.

“Article Two, Section Two says the president ‘shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States…’ and that ‘The President shall have power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.’

“Appointments may be made if one of two conditions are satisfied: either the Senate has given its advice and consent, or when the Senate is in recess.  The Senate did not consent to these appointments; nor was it in recess.  The President cannot make appointments unilaterally and he does not have the authority unilaterally to decide whether the Senate is in recess. These appointments were therefore unconstitutional.

“From ObamaCare to the takeover of the auto industry to his unconstitutional attempt to make recess appointments, the president has consistently shown almost no regard for the constitutional limitations placed on his office.

“That is why I must take a stand. And I call on all Americans – Republicans, Democrats, Independents – who care about our nation, to stand with me in opposition to this blatant and egregious encroachment on our basic constitutional liberties.”