26 Jun 2014 The Constitution Wins and President Obama Loses as Supreme Court Hands Down Decision in NLRB v. Canning
Understanding Today’s Supreme Court Case on Recess Authority
Washington, D.C. – National Center for Public Policy Research Chairman Amy Ridenour has the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision today in NLRB v. Canning:
NLRB v. Canning is in an important case for the separation of powers, as it tested the constitutionality of President Obama’s effort to steal power from the legislative branch in the matter of making important federal appointments.
The President claimed he has the authority to decide when the Senate is in recess, and to make recess appointments when he determines the Senate is in recess, even if the Senate disagrees.
President Obama sought to overcome the Senate’s authority to decide for itself whether it is in recess because the President wanted to block the Senate’s Constitutional authority of “advise and consent” over particularly significant appointees. However, the Recess Appointments Clause of the Constitution is designed to allow the President to make temporary appointments when the Senate is in genuine recess — a particularly critical issue in the 18th century, when Senators could not travel quickly back to Washington to help the President fill a critical vacancy.
Nothing in the Constitution gives the President extra powers if the Senate is not inclined to confirm his nominees.
President Obama was trying to use his recess appointments power not to overcome the fact that the Senate was out of town and unavailable to confirm his nominees, but to overcome the fact that the Senate did not approve of his nominees, and was not intending to confirm them. As the Constitution gives no power to the President to bypass Senate opposition to his nominees, the President’s actions were improper, and the Court was right to strike them down.
NLRB v. Canning is an important case for the protection of the Constitution during an Administration that has been particularly shameless about seizing powers belonging to the other branches of government. Fortunately, in NRLB v. Canning, the Constitution won.
Ridenour has debated the Canning case on national radio with Democratic strategist Robert Weiner and is the author of “Should U.S. Supreme Court Strike Down the Executive Branch’s Poaching of Recess Appointment Authority from Senate?”
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