Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Midnight Appointments: The Ploy

Supreme Court Midas Marquez issued a statement saying that the President cannot use the recent Court decision (De Castro v. JBC) to justify her recent appointments. He explained that De Castro is not yet final and only exempts appointments to the Supreme Court from the ban on midnight appointments (which started on March 10 and ends on June 30). Marquez issued the statement following reports that the President appointed two Justices of the Court of Appeals, an ambassador, and board members to cultural bodies where no vacancy existed.

That these new appointments are so blatantly unconstitutional can mean that the President has absolutely no respect for the Constitution and constitutional restraints. Or it can be another display of presidential craftiness. It is entirely possible that these appointments are part of a script designed to stave off criticisms about her control over the judiciary. These appointments will no doubt be challenged before the courts. They will be struck down as unconstitutional acts, and the President will go on national television to say that she will respect the decision and show that the judiciary is genuinely independent of the Executive Branch. This latest stunt is designed to be a short term loss that will lead to long term gains--whether or not the President leaves office at the end of June.

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