SCOTUS unanimously rejects Obama's NLRB recess appointments

President Obama’s abuse of the recess appointment process got a unanimous slap-down from the Supreme Court today. Even the two justices appointed by him joined the rebuke. Robert Barnes reports in the Washington Post:

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that President Obama lacked constitutional authority to make high-level government appointments at a time he declared the Senate in recess and unable to act on the nominations.

Obama made appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in January 2012 at a time when the Senate was holding pro forma sessions every three days precisely to thwart the president’s ability to exercise the power.

“When the Senate declares that it is in session and possesses the capacity, under its own rules, to conduct business,” that is sufficient from keeping the president to make recess appointments, Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for the court.

Obama’s behavior was outrageous and deserved this rebuke.

The Court also laid out rules (made up out of thin air) for what could constitute a genuine recess:

Breyer and the court’s liberals, joined by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, read the Constitution to give wide authority to the president to make recess appointments when the Senate was in recess — 10 days is the minimum, they decided. And they said that the vacancies did not have to arise during the time the Senate was away.

This could be considered a consolation prize for the executive, and constitutes a warning to the Senate that if it leaves town for 10 days or longer, it risks having a president declare a recess appointment for any vacancy pending.

But at least there is some clarity. And President Obama has suffered a humiliation for one of his many constitutional abuses.

And the actions taken by illegally constituted the NLRB are now void.

It’s a start.

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