News

Republicans considering lawsuit over Cordray’s recess appointment

Mitch McConnellTop Republicans in the Senate are likely to decide whether or not to file a lawsuit to challenge the controversial use of recess appointments by President Barack Obama after their January 23 return.
 
Obama bypassed Congress to place Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who was facing drawn-out opposition by the Republicans, Reuters reports. Obama may have used the appointments to tap into voter hostility toward a gridlocked Congress. As a result, a lawsuit may be both legally shaky and could backfire with voters.
 
"We haven't made any decisions about a challenge, but we won't take options off the table," Bruce Josten, the chief lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, according to Reuters. "(The validity of the appointments) will likely be challenged and settled by the courts."
 
Legal experts say that a lawsuit from Senate Republicans has a high likelihood of being thrown out if a court decides they can't bring the case due to a lack of legal standing. A lawsuit from a business group with at least one member as a potential target of the CFPB is more likely.
 
"What will Senate Republicans argue in a lawsuit?" a senior Senate Democratic aide said, according to Reuters. "That they have the right to obstruct? I don't think that's a winning hand."
 
Republicans may use the recess appointments to frame Obama's decision as a grab for power.
 
"This outrageous affront to the American people ventures into uncertain legal territory, threatens the Constitutional process for confirmation, and fundamentally endangers the Constitutional role of Congress to provide a check on the excesses of the executive branch," Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said, according to Reuters.
 
In 1997, a Supreme Court filing in Raines v. Byrd determined that individual congressmen did not have standing to sue the president from having the power to line-item veto money amounts in budget bills. Senate Republicans may instead decide to avoid a direct court fight and file an amicus brief in support of an industry group's suit if one comes about.

Comments are closed.