Sen. Lee to Testify at Hearing on Illegal Non-Recess Appointments

Lachlan Markay /

A handful of constitutional law experts are slated to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee tomorrow about President Obama’s four unconstitutional non-recess appointments. The witnesses include Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), one of Congress’ chief critics of Obama’s unprecedented decision.

Lee will offer his expertise as a former clerk for a Supreme Court justice and attorney specializing in Supreme Court litigation. His testimony will come on the heels of a testy exchange with the president that began with the former’s announcement that he may block all of Obama’s nominations until the four illegally appointed officials make their way through the Senate confirmation process.

“I find myself duty-bound to resist the consideration and approval of additional nominations until the president takes steps to remedy the situation,” Lee said at a House Judiciary Committee business meeting. “The president certainly will not continue to enjoy my nearly complete cooperation, unless and until he rescinds his unconstitutional recess appointments.”

Obama fired back at Lee specifically, claiming, “One senator gumming up the works for the whole country is certainly not what our founding fathers envisioned.”

That prompted a response from Lee, who rejected Obama’s accusations of political gamesmanship. “The Constitution is not partisan,” Lee wrote at the conservative blog RedState. “I will oppose any president, regardless of party, who attempts to ignore constitutional limits on executive power.”

Lee’s objections will likely be fleshed out further at Wednesday’s hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, titled “Uncharted Territory: What are the Consequences of President Obama’s Unprecedented ‘Recess’ Appointments?” Other witnesses include legal experts C. Boyden Gray, Andrew J. Pincus, Michael J. Gerhardt, David B. Rivkin and Mark A. Carter. The hearing will be streamed live on the committee’s website.

While Lee has been the most outspoken opponent of the president’s power-grab among U.S. senators, others have hinted at similar tactics in response to the move. Speaking at The Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), while declining to endorse Lee’s tactics specifically, noted that “there are a number of people thinking, like Senator Lee, [that] we can no longer continue to work with this president and the other side in any form.”