About That Recess Appointment

Maybe not so much.

While in Robert’s Rules a “Motion to Adjourn” is always in order (meaning it can be brought forward at any time), is undebatable, and requires a mere majority, the Senate Rules are different and, technically, we’re talking about a recess, not adjournment which would effectively end the current session of Congress (the 115th in case you’re keeping score) until the next elections in 2018.

Not that it’s necessarily a bad idea.

A motion to recess is a “regular order” motion which, though usually approved by unanimous consent, is (again technically) subject to the Filibuster protecting 60 vote rule.

So it’s a race between “WithoutobjectionsoorderedBang!” and “I object” which would force a vote. As chair you can always ignore it (and I have and lived through a “Challenge to the Chair”, which I lost). Even that you can ignore, but it rarely works. The litigation would be spectacular!

Especially if recess appointments are made.

But I don’t want to give you too much hope, Bush v. Gore.

Trump urged to use recess appointment to replace Sessions — is that possible?
By Dana Bash and Ted Barrett, CNN
Thu July 27, 2017

Is President Donald Trump trying to force out Jeff Sessions as attorney general so he can “recess appoint” someone to the job who would fire Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller?

Sources familiar with the President’s thinking tell CNN that he is being urged by some associates that a recess appointment is an option worth pursuing in order to avoid a messy confirmation process in the short term.

Although there are multiple political and procedural road blocks, the theory, if he could find a way to pull it off, would be to install a new attorney general while the Senate is in recess, which would allow that person to stay in place through 2018.

A new attorney general might be willing to more aggressively oversee Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia or fire the special counsel outright, as Trump has suggested he wants.

But the catch is that for a recess appointment plan to work, the Senate would actually have to formally adjourn into recess, and Senate Democrats are already working on strategies to prevent that from happening.

While Republicans control the Senate now, the only way they can formally adjourn — which would set up a period when recess appointments are allowable — is to pass an adjournment resolution. The problem is that Democrats can filibuster that resolution, which they have been doing and plan to continue to do to prevent Trump from installing a replacement for Sessions or make any other appointments.

So, as has been the case for many years, when senators are away from Washington for extended periods, a least one senator will trudge to the chamber every three days to lead a brief gavel-in, gavel-out pro forma session to prevent recess appointments.

Whether Trump tries to find a way around the court-tested practice remains to be seen.

In case you’ve never been through it (and not many people have) a “Challenge to the Chair” is a deeply humiliating experience and I’m surprised I survived politically.

There was a dispute between the capo di tutti and the consigliere and the capo (because he was an idiot) allowed it to reach the floor for a delegate vote. Because they were both involved and the consigliere ran the meetings I was, ex officio, temporary presiding officer and as was customary I called for a voice vote. I thought the result definitive, though not one I agreed with, and announced the result.


Here’s the worst part, you are temporarily retired for the next poor sod in line to preside over a roll call vote and have to listen to your ass getting spanked stroke by stroke and then…

And then you take the chair once more for what is presumably the very last time and say- “The Secretary will call the roll,” and listen to it again.


But I had persistence and I stuck around long enough for everyone to forget why they hated me until I in turn was capo di tutti and reminded them. At that they were lucky to have me and my team around because we’d actually read Robert’s Rules and our By Laws, otherwise we’d still be in that damn meeting room.

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