Lee Opposes Nominee in Defense of the Constitution

February 9, 2012

WASHINGTON – Today, prior to opposing President Obama’s judicial nominee for the Southern District of California, Senator Mike Lee made the following statement on the floor of the Senate regarding President Obama’s recent unconstitutional appointments:

"I rise today in opposition to this nomination. I do so not because of the qualifications of this particular nominee, but instead I do so in defense of the U.S. Constitution.

"In opposing President Obama’s appointments, I’ve repeatedly made clear that this is a constitutional issue. Each time I’ve spoken out and I’ve done so on numerous occasions, I’ve set forth in detail the reasons why I believe on a legal basis, on a constitutional basis, why President Obama’s recent purported recess appointments are unprecedented and unconstitutional.

“I’ve also made absolutely clear that my opposition to President Obama’s appointments is not partisan, and that I will hold a Republican President equally accountable whenever any republican president makes a similarly unconstitutional claim of power.

“This President has enjoyed my cooperation up to this point. I’ve voted for many if not most of his nominees. That cooperation can't continue, not in the same way that he has enjoyed it up until this point in light of the fact he has disrespected our authority, within this body. He’s disrespected the constitution.

“Unfortunately, many of my colleagues have refused to engage on the real substance of this issue. Instead, they repeatedly changed the subject to partisan politics: the nominations process and Richard Cordray's qualifications to head the CFPB.

“Even worse and despite my repeatedly making clear I intend to hold any Republican President to the same standard to protect the institutional and constitutional prerogatives of the Senate, rather than the interests of any political party, given that those are at stake, the Democrats, including the President himself, have accused me of playing politics. I want to be clear again, this is not the case.

“I’m here to defend the constitutional prerogatives of the Senate and the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances that are at the heart of our constitutional system. The Senate's advice and consent role is grounded in the constitution, the constitution system of checks and balances."