This one is pretty amazing. The US Supreme Court has delivered a unanimous slap to the President saying that his recess appointments were illicit. Even the court’s liberals said Obama was wrong on this.
If you are out of the loop, here is what happened: Obama wanted to make some extremely partisan appointments to the National Labor Relations board (NLRB) so that he could deliver even more pro union decisions in the disputes between labor and businesses that the NLRB is set up to adjudicate.
The U.S. Senate did not like his choices because the folks Obama wanted to appoint were obvious union shills that would further erode the NLRB’s status as an unbiased arbitrator between labor unions and the business sector (as it is supposed to be).
So, the Senate gaveled itself to order every few days and then immediately gaveled itself out to nominally stay in session (called pro forma session) to prevent Obama from making recess appointments to the NLRB.
But Obama decided that the Senate was “in recess” all on his own without accepting the Senate’s own claims that it wasn’t in recess and he made what are called “recess appointments.” This is a power the president has that is essentially a sort of emergency power used when Congress is out of town but the president needs to do something in an emergency and hasn’t the time to wait for Congress to come back to session.
Obviously Obama’s partisan desire to stack the NLRB with union shills was no “emergency” and further the Senate was still nominally “in session,” so his attempt to claim the right to make recess appointments was illicit.
But Obama didn’t care about any of that. He made his appointments anyway and then the NLRB proceeded to make a long string of highly biased rulings that further hurt our economy (another of Obama’s particular goals).
Subsequently, Obama was essentially sued in a case called NLRB v. Noel Canning.
Well, finally the SCOTUS has ruled that Obama did, indeed, overstep his authority with his fake “recess appointments” and has ruled unanimously that Obama’s appointments were illegal.
The SCOTUS ruled that a recess must be in force for 10 days or more before the President’s recess appointment power kicks in.
Now, this ruling does put a dent in presidential powers as they have been used for quite some time. Obama isn’t the only one to abuse recess appointments. Other presidents have, too. But I, for one, support this decision as we need to start looking for ways to scale back what has become an imperial presidency. This more defined limit is a good decision.
Now the big question is what will happen to all the decisions Obama’s illicit NLRB has made over the last 4 years? Shouldn’t they all be vacated?
Tom Price, vice chairman of the House Budget Committee and a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce was pleased with the decision.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a victory for the rule of law in this country and a repudiation of President Obama’s blatant disregard for the constitutional limits of his office. Because of the Obama Administration’s unwise and flagrant abuse of the recess appointment authority, multiple rulings by the NLRB could potentially be overturned in the wake of today’s decision. Responsibility for whatever legal chaos and confusion may occur as a result lies entirely with President Obama and his administration.
“Whether the White House likes it or not, we still have three co-equal branches of government in this country. It’s a shame the Supreme Court had to step in and remind the Obama Administration of that fact and to demand the president have more respect for our system of checks and balances.”
Congressman Price is the sponsor of the Employee Rights Act (H.R. 3485) – legislation encompassing a broad array of labor reforms to empower American workers and shield them from unfair treatment in the workplace.