Jun 26 2014
The SCOTUS this week began its Summer ritual of announcing its decisions in rapid progression. Among the big decisions include, remarkably, the Court’s first EVER ruling on the limits of the Presidential Recess power. That decision came in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning. As explained on Scotusblog.com, “The Court began with the first question presented in the case: whether the Constitution allows the president to make recess appointments during “intra-session” recesses (breaks that occur within the two one-year sessions between congressional elections) or only during “inter-session” recess (the break between the two one-year sessions). Its answer on this question is a victory for the Obama administration and future presidents who want to be able to make recess appointments.” Justice Breyer wote, “We have not previously interpreted the [Recess Appointments] Clause, and, when doing so for the first time in more than 200 years, we must hesitate to upset the compromise and working arrangements that the elected branches of Government themselves have reached.”
All did not end well for the Obama Administration however as the Court went on to invalidate the appointments that made up the subject of this case–and thereby invalidating a multitude of decisions already made by the NLRB.:
“The Court then turned to the third and final question presented in the case: whether the Senate can prevent the president from making recess appointments even during its longer recesses by holding “pro forma” sessions – that is, sessions at which no work actually gets done – every three days. The Court answered that question in the affirmative, rejecting the federal government’s argument that the “pro forma” sessions are, in essence, just a sham to thwart the president’s recess appointments powers. In the Court’s view, all that matters is whether the Senate says it is in session and could at least in theory conduct business, which is possible (even if unlikely) at the pro forma sessions.
Here it is important to note that, although all nine Justices agreed that these particular recess appointments were invalid, there was not a lot of harmony on the Court in this question.”
Never a dull moment at SCOTUS. Who says the Law cannot be exciting?
Here’s a link to the decision.
For full details and to see the other remarkable rulings of the week, visit scotusblog.com.