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Supreme Court Rules Against Obama Recess Appointments

Updated 12:37 pm ET

The Supreme Court today in a unanimous decision held that President Obama’s 2012 temporary appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were illegal, finding that the Senate was not formally in recess when Obama acted.

Obama had contended that the Senate was in de facto recess and that its attempts to formally remain in session were a sham. But the Court went with de jure instead, ruling that Obama had broken the letter of the law.

“The Senate is in sessions when it says that it is,” the Court wrote.

Supreme CourtThe decision represents a win for Republicans, who lately have stepped up their efforts to portray the White House as a haven for lawlessness where the prerogatives of the other branches of government are routinely trampled.

The majority opinion in the case was written by Justice Stephen Breyer and joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. A concurring opinion was written by Antonin Scalia was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas and Alito.

The court’s four most conservative justices voiced strong objections, though, and the ruling is hardly a complete win for Republicans, who had hoped for a decision that would almost entirely end the president’s power to make recess appointments at all.

The court’s five liberals and moderates prevailed over the conservatives, who would have gone further by ruling that a president can only make recess appointments during the period between year-long sessions, and then only if the vacancies occur during the recess, as they say the letter and intent of the Constitution stipulates.

Instead, the liberals decreed that a recess in which an appointment can be made must simply last at least ten days, a determination Justice Antonin Scalia derided as an example of “vague, court-crafted limitations with no textual basis.”

In fact, the recess appointment was created to ensure government continues to function back in the days when lawmakers spent months outside of Washington and back in their home states – otherwise known as the good ‘ole days – and couldn’t confirm appointments to vacancies that arose and needed to be filled while they were out of town. Scalia is entirely right in contending that the Obama White House – and its predecessors – have simply created new power for the president entirely unintended by the Founders, who sought to limit executive authority.

Nevertheless, if the Senate goes Republican, GOP members can almost completely bar Obama appointments they don’t like. At that point, they can keep the Senate from recessing for more than ten days and will be able to reject nominees by a simple majority vote.

50 thoughts on “Supreme Court Rules Against Obama Recess Appointments”

          1. It would seem so, since they are no longer legal appointees and were never confirmed. I don’t expect replacements until after mid-terms when hopefully, the Senate is upended.

          2. I hope it is delayed, because if the guys we have in now, including Republicans, have to vote on the nominees currently sitting as a result of these recess appointments, they would just kneejerk reconfirm. And that includes Perez. I have no faith in the Republican Party to fight the good fight. Mississippi was all I needed to sit up and pay attention.

          3. Cochran et all went over the top in its appeal to black democrat voters — calling tea party racists, Nazis etc. I saw some of the mailings — don’t know if they came from Cochran’s campaign, but they were not denied.

            I couldn’t find the link I was looking for that showed some of the mailings but here is Eric Erickson on the MISS race and the questions it stirs up. This is beyond McCain coocoo, but he was down there pimping for Cochran, so,…


  1. Don’t worry democrat party communists and the propaganda media. Dictator Obama will just ignore this ruling just like he ignores the laws of this country. Dictators are not bound by laws or Supreme Court decisions.

        1. He’s been at it for awhile with SCOTUS.

          First US President to have ever voted to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee – Justice Alito

  2. This includes the 600 decisions that the NLRB has made as well from 2012 forward – any/all decisions are null and void as if they never existed.

  3. Unanimous! Does that mean that the radical reconquista, Tom Perez, is out? Hurray! A journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step. Thank you, SCOTUS.

      1. As of May 2013

        There have been no dissents in more than 60 percent of the 46 cases decided so far this term. At this point last year, the justices were unanimous just 48 percent of the time, according to statistics compiled by Scotusblog. In the two terms before that, 52 percent of the cases decided by now were unanimous.

          1. The liberal Supremes only voted this way because they’re concerned with the precedent that would be set otherwise. They realize we’re likely to have a Republican POTUS soon and they don’t want that president to have the amount of power that BHO has unilaterally seized.

  4. Up next? Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties regarding the birth control mandate in the ACA.

    If that is unanimous, the left will be jumping off tall buildings and bridges.

  5. Nothing but a jealousy vote by SCOTUS. They know that POTUS is better Constitutional Scholar than all of them combined. They know this and that is why. Of course, all 9 of them could be racist, sexist or an Uncle Tom. LOL

    1. I would like to know why the congress is dismissing it also.
      Gutless wonders,….all of them.
      Keep in mind that Boehner removed any Tea Party conservatives from key positions on the committees.
      These people are devious.
      Boehner recently came out and said that he was going to sue Obama.
      Really John Boy ?
      You’re just going to walk up to preezy and kick him in the shin.
      Wow,…we are not impressed you bloated gasbag.

      He needs to be impeached, and you don’t have the guts to do it.

  6. President Obama’s team suffered their twelfth unanimous defeat at the Supreme Court in the legal challenge to the so-called recess appointments made when Congress was not actually in recess, a string of defeats that only represents “the tip of the iceberg,” according to Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah).

    “Not every case in which the president has exceeded his authority has made it all the way to the Supreme Court,” Lee, a former law clerk to Justice Samuel Alito, told National Review Online. “The fact that his track record is as bad as it is in the Supreme Court . . . is yet another indication of the fact that we’ve got a president who is playing fast and loose with the Constitution.”

    Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas), in arguing that Obama is “lawless,” has kept a tally of the president’s unanimous defeats. ”This marks the twelfth time since January 2012 that the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the Obama administration’s calls for greater federal executive power,” he pointed out after the release of the recess-appointments ruling.

  7. OneCitizenOfTheRepublic

    Haven’t we seen ENOUGH of what can happen when Progressives have control of the Senate…



  8. Now if they would just over rule all the CA 9th circuit rulings we might be able to get started. Still,it’s a check on Obama and his assault on separation of power and the constitution so I’ll take this!

  9. Pingback: Liberal Analyst Questions Obama’s Immigration Move | The Blog on Obama: White House Dossier

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