Impeachable Offense? Yale Law Prof Questions Legality of Obama’s “Recess” Appointments

Neil Munro, The Daily Caller

Even a Yale Law School professor is questioning President Barack Obama’s claim of a legal justification for unilaterally installing Richard Cordray as head of the new finance-sector regulatory bureau.

Obama’s staff say the appointment was based on advice from White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, not from the Department of Justice.

But this reliance on Obama’s in-house lawyer marks a “bitter shift” that is reducing the advisory role of the Justice Department’s confirmed appointees, and increasing the role of Obama’s in-house legal counsel, said Bruce Ackerman, a professor at Yale Law, which conservatives have long decried as a hotbed of partisan legal activists.

This legal shift began under President George W. Bush, but Obama has used “other techniques to propel the same shift of power in his direction,” Ackerman wrote The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

To curb that shift, he said, the public needs to debate the legal argument for and against Obama’s claimed ability to unilaterally install appointees when the Senate says it is open for business.

“All thoughtful people, Democrat and Republican alike, should insist that Ms. Ruemmler publish her opinion without delay,” wrote Ackerman.

However, White House spokesman Jay Carney has declined to release or even describe Ruemmler’s legal argument, even though few Democratic politicians or academics have defended the administration’s legal claim.

In a brief interview with NPR, Ruemmler claimed that “the way that the Constitution should be interpreted is not through a formalistic or artificial construction but rather a practical, common-sense approach.”

“There are a lot of appointees who have been languishing” without Senate approval, she told NPR….

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