Unconstitutional Recess Appointments Extend beyond NLRB

On Jan. 4, 2012, while the Senate was in pro-forma session, President Obama announced that he had the power to declare the Senate in recess.  He then made three "recess appointments" to the NLRB and appointed Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In the first significant resistance to the concentration of presidential power, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. disagreed.  The court unanimously said that the president exceeded his constitutional power and that the Senate was not in recess.  Further, the panel concluded that the Constitution allows recess appointments only during the once-yearly recess between sessions of Congress.  The court ruled that Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board are unconstitutional.  Similar CFPB litigation is in the pipeline. Reuters notes that "White House spokesman Jay Carney called the ruling 'novel and unprecedented' and said it...(Read Full Article)

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