Sham Senate sessions should be shut down
The Constitution specifically gives the Senate the power to "advise and consent" on many presidential appointments. So it was hardly surprising last week the Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously against three of President Obama's "recess appointments" to the National Labor Relations Board.
But the problem isn't simply the administration's overreach. It's the Senate's refusal to advise and consent, thus impeding the executive branch's ability to conduct the public's business.
The current Senate minority has broken records by abusing the filibuster rule to block executive branch appointments. To prevent recess appointments, which only may occur when the Senate is in recess, the Senate has conducted a long series of sham, 30-second sessions, at which no business is conducted.
The Supreme Court ruling means that the court has accepted those sessions as valid.
Part of the problem was resolved prior to the ruling with a new filibuster protocol for some appointments. Senate Democrats adopted a rule, farcically called the "nuclear option," requiring a simple majority of 51 votes to close debate on presidential appointments for positions other than the Supreme Court. Only in the Senate could majority rule be termed the "nuclear option."
Now the Senate should further resolve to deal with appointments that are necessary to conduct business, thus eliminating the need for sham sessions.