Some lawyers we respect argue that a pro forma session isn’t a real Congressional session, and that’s certainly worth debating. But that isn’t the view that Mr. Reid or then-Senator Obama took in 2007-08, and it would certainly be an extension of Presidential power for the chief executive to be able to tell Congress that he can decide when Congress is really sitting and when it isn’t. In any event, that still wouldn’t explain the violation of the language in Section 5 above.

These appointments are brazen enough that they have the smell of a deliberate, and politically motivated, provocation. Recall the stories over the New Year’s weekend, clearly planted by the White House, that Mr. Obama planned to make a campaign against Congress the core of his re-election drive. One way to do that is to run roughshod over the Senate’s advice and consent power and dare the Members to stop him.

Mr. Cordray’s appointment also plays into Mr. Obama’s plan to run against bankers and other plutocrats. The President justified his appointment yesterday by saying that Senate Republicans had blocked Mr. Cordray’s nomination “because they don’t agree with the law setting up the consumer watchdog.”