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On recess appointments and other atrocities

As Jeffrey Toobin points out in the New Yorker today, it was one of North Carolina’s own who wrote the recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision invalidating the President’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

Who wrote this judicial atrocity? No surprise—it was David Sentelle, who has a long and disgraceful reputation as a partisan hack on the bench. A protégé of Jesse Helms, his fellow North Carolinian, Sentelle is most famous for engineering, in 1994, the dismissal of Robert Fiske as the Whitewater Independent Counsel and replacing him with Kenneth Starr. (How’d that work out?) As a judge, Sentelle has been a thoroughgoing reactionary for thirty years.

It was a decision, Toobin says, that “serves as a useful reminder of where power resides in Washington. Presidents come and go, but the judges are there forever. And they know it.”

Thankfully though, as Toobin adds, judges also go on senior status, as Sentelle has announced he will do in February.

Read more here.

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