Lee Backs Pick To Defend Against Unconstitutional Appointments

April 17, 2012

WASHINGTON—Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) issued the following statement today in response to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's announcement that former Assistant to the Solicitor General Miguel Estrada will file an amicus brief on behalf of Senate Republicans. The brief will challenge the constitutionality of President Obama's "recess" appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in January.

"I commend Leader McConnell for having chosen Miguel Estrada, a superb advocate, to articulate the Senate’s crucial perspective in the litigation over President Obama’s unconstitutional “recess” appointments.  At stake is nothing less than the Senate’s rightful constitutional prerogatives.

"Although the federal courts may provide an important safeguard against presidential encroachment on the legislative branch, the Senate must not rely on the courts alone.  We must act independently to make clear that the President may not bypass the Senate’s advice and consent role as set forth in Article II, Section II of the Constitution.  President Obama’s unconstitutional appointments are fundamentally different than the recess appointments of any other president in our nation’s history.  President Obama unilaterally appointed individuals to important executive positions when the Senate was not in recess, asserting that he may independently determine when the Senate is and is not in session.
"This exceptional and unprecedented attack on the Constitution’s balance of powers threatens the system of checks and balances that protects our liberty.  In addition to supporting in the courts the efforts of those harmed by President Obama’s actions, the Senate itself must take action to make clear that unconstitutional executive aggrandizement will not stand."