Federal Court Rules Obama Recess Appointments Unconstitutional
Kyle Becker | On 25, Jan 2013
In a highly unusual move, a federal court has ruled one of President’s Obama’s unconstitutional actions — unconstitutional.
From the AP:
A federal appeals court has ruled that President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies on a labor relations panel.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit says Obama did not have the power to make recess appointments earlier this year to the National Labor Relations Board.
Obama claims he acted properly because the Senate was away for the holidays. But the court says the Senate technically stayed in session when lawmakers gaveled in and out every few days for so-called “pro forma” sessions.
GOP lawmakers used the tactic specifically to prevent Obama from using his recess power to fill vacancies in an agency they claimed was too pro-union.
The Obama administration is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states:
The President shall have power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
If the Supreme Court’s justices can properly interpret this plain English clause of the Constitution, the recess appointments should be struck down. The Senate was not officially in recess during the appointments, regardless of arguments to the contrary.
UPDATE: The Washington Times
His opponents had warned that if Mr. Obama’s stance prevailed, then presidents could make appointments when the Senate takes its recess for weekly party caucus lunches.
The judges on Friday ruled that the only clear bright line is when the Senate recesses at the end of the year.
UPDATE 2: Associated Press — Invalidation of hundreds of NLRB decisions
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that Obama did not have the power to make three recess appointments last year to the National Labor Relations Board because the Senate was officially in session – and not in recess – at the time. If the decision stands, it could invalidate hundreds of board decisions.