Update: 2:45 p.m., January 25th -- White House press secretary Jay Carney called the court's ruling "novel and unprecedented," saying that it "contradicts 150 year of practice by Democratic and Republican administrations … So we respectfully but strongly disagree with the ruling." Politco's Donovan Slack also reports that Carney said Republicans obstructionism has caused "enormous frustration" within President Obama's administration. The White House remains confident that this is just "one court, one case, one company," and won't extend to Cordray's case.
Original: President Obama violated the Constitution by filling three National Labor Relations Board seats in the midst of a Senate recess, according to a court ruling issued today. "Told you so," says every conservative on Twitter.
In a unanimous decision, the three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that President Obama's three NLRB appointments from January 2012, which didn't receive Senate approval after months of heated debate, over-reached his Constitutional powers. At the time, GOP lawmakers like John Boehner were calling Obama's move an "entirely unprecedented power grab" and conservative pundits like Michelle Malkin were fuming over the "strong-arm move."
Today's ruling hinges on pretty wonky technicalities. The President is allowed to make appointments during Senate recesses under certain circumstances, but the judges ruled that in this case the Senate wasn't really in recess. The AP's Sam Hananel explains the tactic Republican Senators used to try to prevent the recess appointments:
... the Senate technically stayed in session when it was gaveled in and out every few days for so-called "pro forma" sessions. GOP lawmakers used the tactic—as Democrats have in the past as well—to specifically to prevent the president from using his recess power.
The ruling has implications for another, separate open case questioning the constitutionality of the recess appointment of Richard Cordray (pictured with Obama above) to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (Obama moved yesterday to make that appointment permanent.) Needless to say, this is seen as a victory for conservatives who think the NLRB is an activist entity that's too cozy with unions. Already, the conservative Twittersphere is reaching peak schadenfreude:
Look, the Constitution still matters, after all ==> washingtonpost.com/business/feder…— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) January 25, 2013
My monologue last year ripping Obama's unconstitutional appointments (H/T Rightscoop)... fb.me/1yeqg6nBl
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) January 25, 2013
With all due respect (which isn't much), Obama supporters, NEENER NEENER!!!!!!!! bigstory.ap.org/article/federa…— Leah (@gopfirecracker) January 25, 2013
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.