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RESPECT THE CONSTITUTION: High court votes to limit president's ability to fill in temporary appointments

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/26/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Obama's appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 without Senate confirmation were illegal

The Supreme Court, in guaranteeing the rights of abortion protestors reached a second unanimous ruling the very same day. President Obama's appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 without Senate confirmation, the justices ruled, were illegal. In response the court has now limited the president's power to fill high-level vacancies with temporary appointments.

President Obama invoked the Constitution's provision giving the president the power to make temporary appointments when the Senate is in recess. The court declared that the Senate was not actually in a formal recess when Obama acted.

President Obama invoked the Constitution's provision giving the president the power to make temporary appointments when the Senate is in recess. The court declared that the Senate was not actually in a formal recess when Obama acted.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
6/26/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Recess appointments, President Obama, Supreme Court


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The justices ruled in favor of Senate Republicans in their partisan clash with the president.

It was the high court's first-ever case involving the Constitution's recess appointments. The ruling ended in a unanimous decision holding that Obama's appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 without Senate confirmation were illegal.

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Obama invoked the Constitution's provision giving the president the power to make temporary appointments when the Senate is in recess. The court declared that the Senate was not actually in a formal recess when Obama acted.

Obama had said that the Senate was on an extended holiday break and that the brief sessions it held every three days. This was a purported sham intended to prevent him from filling seats on the NLRB.

The justices rejected this week. Justice Stephen Breyer said in his majority opinion that a congressional break has to last at least 10 days to be considered a recess under the Constitution. Neither house of Congress can take more than a three-day break without the consent of the other.

The Senate's Democratic majority has since changed the rules to make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of most Obama appointees.

The ruling's impact may be keenly felt by the White House next year if Republicans capture control of the Senate in the November election. The potential importance of the ruling lies in the Senate's ability to block the confirmation of judges and the leaders of independent agencies like the NLRB.

A federal law gives the president the power to appoint acting heads of Cabinet-level departments to keep the government running.

It must be noted that the outcome was the least significant loss possible for the White House. The justices, by a 5-4 vote, rejected a sweeping lower court ruling against the administration that would have made it virtually impossible for any future president to make recess appointments.

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