A North Carolina Republican, Sentelle was seen as a hard-line conservative, a protege of Sen. Jesse Helms ....
Before donning black robes, Sentelle also had been a Republican Party activist. He had served as chairman of the Mecklenburg County Republican Party and had been a Reagan delegate at the 1984 GOP national convention. Sentelle was so enamored of the former president that he named his daughter, Reagan.
Even after his appointment to the federal bench, Sentelle engaged in public writings harshly critical of liberals. In one article, Sentelle accused "leftist heretics" of wishing to turn the United States into "a collectivist, egalitarian, materialistic, race-conscious, hyper-secular, and socially permissive state." ...
Sentelle "takes politics seriously enough that he would do what it takes to make sure his party comes out on top," commented Ted Arrington, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
For most of President Obama’s first term, Republicans used legislative trickery to try to prevent the functioning of two federal agencies they hate, the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. First they would filibuster the president’s nominees to the agencies, knowing that neither agency could operate without board members or a director. Then they would create fake legislative sessions for the Senate during its recess, intended solely to prevent Mr. Obama from making recess appointments as an end run.GOP lawmakers argued, however, that the Senate technically had stayed in session because it was gaveled in and out every few days for so-called pro forma sessions.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel arguments claiming that it is at the president's discretion to decide that the Senate is unavailable to perform its advice and consent function.
"Allowing the president to define the scope of his own appointment power would eviscerate the Constitution's separation of powers," Chief Judge David Sentelle wrote in the 46-page ruling. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan.Sentelle was joined in his opinion by Judges Thomas Griffith (George W. Bush appointment) and Karen LeCraft Henderson (George H.W. Bush appointment).
"With this ruling, the D.C. Circuit has soundly rejected the Obama administration's flimsy interpretation of the law, and (it) will go a long way toward restoring the constitutional separation of powers," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.Of course, the decision destabilizes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), currently operating under Richard Cordray, appointed during a recess after Republicans filibustered his nomination.
Obama's administration argued that a legislative session during which no business takes place, and when no nominations can be considered, is not a real session. Arguing that sham “pro forma” sessions prevented two executive-branch agencies from performing their lawful duties.
The court’s opinion took no notice of the underhanded nature of these actions: Senate Republicans asked the House to remain in session solely to prevent Mr. Obama’s recess appointments, and the Constitution prevents the Senate from adjourning without the consent of the House, even if it meets only for a minute every three days. Using a cramped definition of “recess,” the panel’s Republican-appointed judges allowed a minority to abuse the recess-appointments clause of the Constitution for political ends.Of course, Harry Reid continued on his merry, underhanded course of collaborating with obstructionist Republicans by refusing to curb filibuster abuses this week.
The Republican chicanery continues under Harry Reid's benevolent eye.