Recess appointments: Nobody did them like Teddy


Theodore Roosevelt made recess-appointment history. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

“In that moment between sessions,” Koed wrote, “during that split-second of time it took . . . to wield the gavel, President Theodore Roosevelt made 193 recess appointments.”

“There was but one fall of the gavel,” a newspaper reported, “but one stroke, but one sound.” Even senators in the chamber didn’t know there’d been a recess or, as Roosevelt most creatively put it, a “constructive recess.”

Senators of both parties were furious and launched an investigation into what, under the Constitution, constitutes a recess.

We’re told the answer remains most ambiguous to this day. The more recent consensus is that, to be in recess, the Senate is gone for more than three days. But that’s only based on a 1993 Justice Department analysis in a lawsuit — not a law or Supreme Court ruling.

So if Obama, who talked about T.R. this week in Kansas, were really channeling Roosevelt . . .

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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