pro for·ma /ˌprō ˈfôrmə/
adjective:
done or produced as a matter of form.

The 9 Supreme Court Justices are the highest in the land. While they aren’t supposed to be aligned to a specific political party, they have the power to exercise the rights of the Constitution. Normally, when a justice resigns (or dies), the president and the Senate work together to elect a new justice.

Once a seat is open, the president and nominate anyone he wants for the Supreme Court. Once he does, the Upper House of Representatives vote if he/she will be let in while the nominee is interviewed on live television. Oh and also the FBI ransacks through all of their personal info. If the vote passes with a 2/3 majority, and the nominee passes the interview, the Supreme Court has a new justice, ready to uphold the constitution.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of areas where this can go wrong. First of all, the Constitution has no time limit on when they have to vote. So an unfriendly Senate could just count on the clock, hoping that the next president is a different color. On the other hand, there is no minimum time, either. The president and the senate can work together surprisingly fast to nominate a justice.

But there’s also other scenarios that could play out. Every year, the Senate takes a recess that lasts upward of 2 months. If a justice resigns/dies in that period, the Constitution gave the president power to appoint a justice for a few months, without the Senate voting on them, dubbed, “Recess Appointments”. The Senate, however, did not like this, so they just went up to the President and said, ” Well, if we never have a recess, you can’t appoint a temporary justice.”. And the president goes, ” If you want to work 365 days a year, go ahead.” But the senate still takes breaks. Just not a “recess”. There is a rule in the Constitution that says the Senate can take a 3 day break any time of the year. So they found a loophole. The pro-forma session.

Even though the Senate is never in recess, they take 3 day breaks on the days of their recess, and on the forth day, they appoint someone to basically say, “Hey everyone, I’m in charge today. Let’s meet again in 3 days”. The Senate takes a break for 3 days, and the minimum thing that can happen on the forth day is a pro-forma session calling for another 3 day break. It’s quite funny, really.

And so, because of the pro-forma session, recess appointments will probably never happen.

Verysmallbrains lol @verysmallbrains for The Radish