Reuters blog archive

from The Great Debate:

Asserting the Senate’s power

A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last week unanimously ruled that President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last year.

The court agreed with the argument outlined in an amicus brief submitted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), myself and 40 of our Republican colleagues. We argued that the Constitution does not empower the president to determine when the Senate is in recess.

The court  ruled that any other interpretation of the Constitution would give “the president free rein to appoint his desired nominees at any time he pleases, whether that time be a weekend, lunch or even when the Senate is in session and he is merely displeased with its inaction.”

The Founders established the constitutional separation of powers for a reason. The Senate’s right to provide advice and consent is an important check on the risk of this type of presidential overreach – and one we exercised last January. Yet despite of the court’s unanimous decision, the NLRB recently announced that it intends to ignore the ruling and carry on with business as usual.