January 25, 2013
A federal court ruled today that President Obama acted unconstitutionally when he used his recess appointment power to name three people to the National Labor Relations Board.
The court ruled that the president could only fill vacancies with the recess appointment procedure if the openings arise when Congress is in an official recess. At the time of the President’s appointments, the Senate was in session.
This ruling comes one year after Ed Meese, a Heritage Foundation legal expert who served as Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General, published an article in The Washington Post explaining that President Obama acted unconstitutionally:
President Obama’s attempt to unilaterally appoint three people to seats on the National Labor Relations Board and Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (after the Senate blocked action on his nomination) is more than an unconstitutional attempt to circumvent the Senate’s advise-and-consent role. It is a breathtaking violation of the separation of powers and the duty of comity that the executive owes to Congress.
Yes, some prior recess appointments have been politically unpopular, and a few have even raised legal questions. But never before has a president purported to make a “recess” appointment when the Senate is demonstrably not in recess. That is a constitutional abuse of a high order.
Today, the Washington Post calls this ruling, “an embarrassing setback for President Barack Obama,” which, if upheld could “invalidate hundreds of board decisions.”
Do you think President Obama violated the Constitution with these appointments?