Thirty-nine Republican senators signed a Feb. 3 letter to President Obama, stating their intent to file an amicus brief challenging as unconstitutional Obama’s recess appointments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board.
As reported by Politico, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, did not sign the letter. He has said he believes the Supreme Court will decide whether the appointments were constitutional. Another who did not sign the letter was Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who is running for re-election against Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard professor who established the Bureau.
Entities regulated by the CFPB or trade groups could decide to challenge the constitutionality of the appointments. So far, the National Right to Work Foundation and the National Federation of Independent Business have jointly filed a legal challenge.
At issue is whether the Senate was actually in recess, allowing Obama to make the appointments.
In a National Public Radio interview, White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler said a recess session in which a lone senator appears in the otherwise empty chamber to bang the gavel and take off is just a gimmick.
“There are a lot of appointees who have been languishing,” she said. “These were, you know, folks who were necessary in order to make the agencies be able to function.”