Well here it is. We will all need to hold our collective breath until a week from tomorrow (23 February). Congress IS in official recess right now. Therefore, if Obama chooses to use the rhetoric of McConnell and others as his justification, he has the legal right to make a recess appointment for ALL of his unfilled seats for one more week – including a lifetime Supreme Court appointment even before Justice Scalia’s body assumes normal ground temperature at six feet under. And such an action would apparently have no legal basis for challenge.
So, the House and Senate will not be meeting in the coming days. This is an adjournment and is not challengeable in court the way the NLRB recess appointments were because both bodies have agreed with each other to adjourn.
This is a true recess and an opportunity for the president should he elect to take it — considering the political realities of the Senate and the position of its majority leader to potentially make a recess appointment.
Keep in mind that this window will close later this month. Then GOP-led House and Senate can effectively block the president with another recess appointment gambit in the future by agreeing to meet every three days, even if members aren’t really here.
But obviously nobody anticipated Scalia’s death.
Thus, the president could in fact take advantage of this rare opportunity because he won’t get it again after February 22/23 if McConnell sticks to his guns.
Recap: Scalia arrives for a fun hunting trip around noon last Friday, has a nice dinner, goes to bed before the next day’s hunting, saying he wanted a long night’s sleep. His hunting buddies leave without him when he doesn’t show up for breakfast, and only later does someone bother to go check on him, finding him “in complete repose.” Therefore,
Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara told Fox News that she determined Scalia had died of natural causes. Guevara also said that she had spoken to local investigators and U.S. marshals, as well as Scalia’s family and personal physician, before determining that an autopsy was not necessary.
Well, there you go. No problem. The highly medically trained, highly esteemed, county judge, Cinderela (you can’t make this stuff up!) Guevara, determined that an autopsy was not necessary. Might have been a stroke, heart attack, just plain ol’ ordinary cardiac arrest, poison in his food, whatever. And this, just hours after Congress agreed to an official recess lasting only long enough for Scalia to be buried. Anyone waiting for the out of news cycle appointment announcement this coming Friday night or Saturday morning?
Am I certain there’s a horrible conspiracy here? No, not at all. It’s just called “abundance of caution.” Do an autopsy, for crying out loud, with plenty of independent witnesses. Prove to everyone that this is just one of those very unfortunate coincidences that do occur from time to time, despite the incredible timing. And we’ll still be holding our collective breath for another week, knowing that the answer to the question of whether Obama has the narcissistic gall to pull this off, is an emphatic “Yes!” – with or without any conspiracy.