Can Trump Really ADJOURN CONGRESS? Hahahahaha, F*ck Off
Boy howdy, Donald The Great Glorious Dictator is just havin' hisself A WEEK!
A few days back we laughed and laughed at Trump puffing out his chest and declaring he has "absolute" authority over when the governors of US America reopen their states. He decidedly does not. A day or two later, we laughed and laughed again when Trump made some sort of ego-tripping move that seemed to be intended to sort of walk the "absolute authority" thing back, but he ended up saying he has "authorized" governors to use their best judgment do whatever they need to do to protect their own states from the novel coronavirus. Dipshit was just standing there granting hall passes and everybody was like "Yeah, LOL, OK, um ... thanks? Anyway fuck off."
And now Donald Trump says he is going to ADJOURN CONGRESS.
Like so many of Trump's dictatorial ramblings, it happened during Trump's daily corona-lingus presser, which on Wednesday was not about coronavirus, as far as we could tell. (STOP RUNNING THEM, NETWORKS.) Yesterday, it was mostly him bitching about judges and other nominees that have been held up in Congress, because of how Congress is staying the fuck at home like everybody else.
And that is when he came up with his very legal and very cool idea for adjourning Congress, so he can recess appoint all the very important unconfirmed nominees on Mitch McConnell's desk. They are very important nominees, you guys. Sure, they're mostly child judges, and Trump didn't even try to explain why it's so important to confirm them during corona, but SURE WHATEVER. (The Washington Post notes that for most of the other vacant jobs in the government, they're empty because Trump hasn't bothered to pick anybody to fill them. For instance, the secretary of Homeland Security, which you'd think might be important in a pandemic. And we all know how he loves "acting" officials, because it's easier to boss them without oversight.)
Maybe the child judges have promised to manufacture coronavirus tests or something. It's probably that.
TRUMP: They put up roadblocks. Whether it's Russia, Russia, Russia, or whether it's impeachment hoax, or whatever it may be, it's always roadblocks and waste of time. If the House will not agree to that adjournment, I will exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress. The current practice of leaving town while conducting phony pro forma sessions is a dereliction of duty that the American people cannot afford during this crisis. It is a SCAM what they do! It's a SCAM! And everybody knows it.
Right, whatever. It is a "dereliction of duty" that Congress is gaveling in and out every day instead of going into an official recess — that is what pro forma sessions are, if you didn't know — which is preventing Trump from recess appointing shitmouthed preschoolers to judgeships. This is really crippling America's response to coronavirus, much more than the fact that America's testing regime is the laughingstock of the world and nobody knows how far and wide coronavirus really has gone in America, because Trump can't pull his orange head out of his mangy butthole and be bothered to do his actual job for five fucking minutes.
Trump added that if Congress has a problem with him using his absolute power to put a stay-at-home-forever order on Congress, he'll just have to go to court about it, and "we'll see who wins," NOW WON'T WE!
TRUMP: They know they've been warned and they've been warned right now. If they don't approve it, then we're going to go this route and we'll probably be challenged in court and we'll see who wins.
That sound you hear is Congress doing the jerkoff motion, all in unison, on Zoom.
There is a thing in the Constitution where under certain circumstances, if the houses of Congress cannot agree with each other to an adjournment day and time, the president can step in in extraordinary situations and open or adjourn Congress. Article II, Section 3 says
presidents named Trump can do whatever they want! the president "may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper."
Trump acknowledges that nobody's ever done this before, which goes without saying because no American president has ever been a whinyassed wannabe dictator like Donald Trump. His only relationship with the Constitution, apparently, is searching the document for obscure clauses he can misuse to consolidate power and become an unaccountable king.
But really, can Trump do this? You will be shocked to learn that Donald Trump, Reader Of Things, is not doing constitutional reading comprehension very well right now. Noted law person Steve Vladeck law-splains at the Washington Post that this text is limiting to Trump, and not actually a loophole to let the president become boss of Congress whenever he feels like it:
What may not be clear from this text, but is abundantly clear from the Constitution's context, is that the adjournment power was meant to limit the president — to confine to exactly one circumstance the power to send Congress home prematurely.
As Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist No. 69, "a British monarch may prorogue or even dissolve the Parliament," and a governor "may also prorogue the legislature of this State for a limited time, but "The President can only adjourn the national legislature in the single case of disagreement about the time of adjournment."
Vladeck explains that this came directly as a safeguard against the common British practice of kings dissolving Parliament every time Parliament was making their kingly asses itch. Vladeck goes on to explain more about the extraordinary circumstances that would create the situation described by the Constitution:
[E]ven when controlled by different parties, the House of Representatives and the Senate are usually able to agree in advance on adjournments; it's also that, even when they don't, one chamber can spoil the president's power by simply (if begrudgingly) going along with the other. It's also increasingly anachronistic: Whereas Congress used to take long, formal recesses between its sessions, it has, for more than a half-century, typically remained in session from Jan. 3 through the conclusion of all legislative business (which, in recent years, has run nearly until the next Jan. 3). Simply put, it would take both a remarkable abandonment of tradition from Senate Republicans, and a refusal to go along from House Democrats for the president to even be in position to formally adjourn Congress. And before any of this happens, Congress would, more than a little ironically, have to return to Washington — and the Senate would have to vote to change the adjournment schedule.
Wow, that is a lot of things that would have to happen for Donald Trump to be able to use his ABSOLUTE POWER to make Congress come back to Washington so he could forcibly send them back home.
During a pandemic.
So Trump could recess-appoint little dumbass Tomi Lahren/Ben Shapiro clones to federal judgeships.
Vladeck concludes that "[j]ust like Trump's claim of 'total' power over states, his threat to adjourn Congress is empty, both formally and functionally." But he says Congress needs to push back, by telling Trump loudly and clearly that LOL FUCK OFF, and explaining why.
Here is Senator Kamala Harris explaining to Anderson Cooper how Trump is just doing this to distract from his own abject bloodstained failure to handle the coronavirus pandemic, and also LOL FUCK OFF:
In summary and in conclusion, in case we haven't said this yet, LOL FUCK OFF.
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