For the record: I have no idea about the validity of "recess appointments," or of claiming the Senate is in session when everyone is, in fact, gone; which is what Rs had done before the appointments Obama made that have now been declared unconstitutional. If they are, I wouldn't defend them in any way; although if it turned on the definition of "recess," when, in fact, everyone had hightailed it except for a designated R stooge to go to the floor for a few seconds every three days, which is what happened, then I'd think it was pretty phony business.
Meanwhile, though, it's worth knowing a couple of things about the judge who made the ruling:
One of the most effective judges in implementing partisan Republican policies from the federal bench has been David Sentelle. He is like the Zelig of GOP judicial activism -- from appointing Ken Starr to exonerating Ollie North and Admiral Poindexter, from letting Dick Cheney keep the publics' energy papers secret to approving Bush secret search warrants: the guy seems to show up everywhere the GOP needs a judicial hatchet man.
According to the book "The Hunting of the President," in an article written while he was on the U.S. Appeals Court, Sentelle "accused 'leftist heretics' of scheming to turn the United States into 'a collectivist, egalitarian, materialistic, race-conscious, hyper-secular, and socially permissive state.'" This is not Ann Coulter, who makes her living out of outrageous and often violent comments about liberals; this is a federal judge who played a key role in passing out Iran-Contra "get out of jail cards" and set-up the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
As you can see from the quotation in our excerpt, Sentelle's core beliefs amount to a Rush Limbaugh rant on a day when he is in his uber-demagogue mode. And remember Sentelle "accused 'leftist heretics' of scheming to turn the United States into 'a collectivist, egalitarian, materialistic, race-conscious, hyper-secular, and socially permissive state" while sitting as an active judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals!
To understand Sentelle a bit, you need to know his origins and chief political sponsor.Sentelle is a former North Carolina GOP state party official and attorney (Mecklenburg County Republican Chairman in 1979-1980). He was a Jesse Helms protege. Helms got Reagan's people to appoint Sentelle to the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Ironically, when his wing nut soulmate, Antonin Scalia, was appointed to the Supreme Court, Sentelle was "moved up" to the D.C. Appellate Court to succeed him there. (It should be noted that former NC Senator Lauch Faircloth -- who John Edwards defeated in 1998 -- was also an active promoter of Sentelle and played a role in Sentelle's appointment of Ken Starr for the purpose of finding a legal toehold to impeach Bill Clinton.)
I'll note, in fairness, that it was a unanimous decision from a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit, a very conservative court in general (consisting of more than three judges); so it wasn't just the aforementioned reprobate. Did he hand-pick the other two? Are they as partisan as he? Well, who knows? It's probably moot, anyway; at this point I suppose it'd be up to the Supreme Court, if the administration appeals. And I'd guess that wouldn't get past the ferocious five.
Meanwhile, given the weak tea that is the so-called filibuster reform