Supreme Court limits President Obama's power to make recess appointments

Rules against his recess appointment practices.

President Obama at National Prayer Breakfast 2014Video Screenshot

The Supreme Court ruled against President Obama today, finding that his application of the law in regards to Senate recess appointments was incorrect.

The Court's decision is in favor of the Republican Senate members and others who disagreed with Obama's appointment of three persons to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

President Obama made the appointments in 2012, when the Senate was meeting every three days during an extended holiday break. Obama argued that the discontinuous sessions were meant to stymie his appointments.

The Court found that three days is not long enough to be considered a recess, "thus we conclude that the President lacked the power to make the recess appointments here at issue," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the majority opinion.

Under the Constitution, Congress must break for at least 10 days before the interruption can be considered a recess.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest expressed disappointment in the ruling, but said that the Obama administration will honor the decision.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell applauded the Justices' conclusion.

"The president made an unprecedented power grab by placing political allies at a powerful federal agency while the Senate was meeting regularly and without even bothering to wait for its advice and consent," the Republican senator said in a statement.

"A unanimous Supreme Court has rejected this brazen power-grab."

The statements are similar to that of House Speaker John Boehner, who announced Wednesday that he plans to sue the President for executive power abuses.

"On one matter after another during his presidency, President Obama has circumvented the Congress through executive action, creating his own laws and excusing himself from executing statutes he is sworn to enforce – at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the America people to stop him," he wrote in a memo to House Republicans.

Boehner voiced concerns that the President's decisions in the areas of education, energy, foreign policy, and healthcare have been made with "king-like authority," and feared a shift in the "balance of power decisively and dangerously" towards the White House.

He plans to bring the lawsuit to the floor next month.

More News in Society