Supreme Court Strikes Down Obama's Unconstitutional Executive Overreach 9–0

The U.S. Constitution requires the president to receive the “advice and consent” of the Senate when filling vacancies in high government offices. Yet in January 2012 President Barack Obama bypassed that requirement and placed three new members on the National Labor Relations Board without first receiving senatorial confirmation. To justify this unilateral exercise of executive power, Obama cited the Constitution’s Recess Appointments Clause, which permits the president to make temporary appointments to "fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session." But there was a problem: The Senate was not in recess at that time. In fact, Senate Republicans were then holding pro forma sessions for the precise purpose of denying Obama a legitimate opportunity to make any and all recess appointments. Obama’s actions therefore violated both the text of the Constitution and the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

Credit: C-SpanCredit: C-SpanToday, by a vote of 9-0, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Obama’s unconstitutional overreach in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning. “In our view,” declared the majority opinion of Justice Stephen Breyer, “the pro forma sessions count as sessions, not as periods of recess.” Therefore, “We hold that, for purposes of the Recess Appointments Clause, the Senate is in session when it says it is.”

This ruling represents a resounding and well-deserved defeat for the Obama administration, which failed to garner even a single vote for its expansive theory of executive power. Indeed, in terms of recess appointments, President Obama has revealed a tendency towards unilateral action that exceeds even that of his predecessor George W. Bush, who was no slouch in the executive power department. Yet unlike Obama, Bush adhered to the independence of Congress and stopped making purported recess appointments in 2007 when Senate Democrats first introduced the tactic of holding pro forma sessions to thwart his nominees. As The New York Times reported at the time, “Senate Democrats repeated the move during breaks for the rest of Mr. Bush’s presidency, and Mr. Bush did not try to make any further recess appointments.”

Today, Obama’s eagerness to expand executive authority beyond Bush-era levels met with overwhelming rejection at the hands of a unanimous Supreme Court. "We conclude that the President lacked the power to make the recess appointments here at issue," declared Justice Breyer. Obama’s “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board are therefore invalid and unconstitutional.

The opinion in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning is available here.

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  • WTF||

    "He's made his decision, now let him enforce it"
    -Andrew Jackson Barack Obama

  • Doctor Whom||

    "There are those who say I should give a shit."

  • WTF||

    "Those voices must be rejected."

  • Warren's Strapon||

    "Let me be clear: I don't."

  • sarcasmic||

    Whatever happened to impeachment?

  • WTF||

    The Republican House doesn't have the balls to impeach the first black President, and even if they did impeach, the Democratic Senate would never convict. Which Obama knows full well and that is why they are so blatant about their lawlessness.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I don't care if he's convicted or not (although I prefer he was). NOT doing anything is condoning his behavior.

    Perhaps if the Republicans hadn't gone full court press over a blowjob, the impeachment process would still have some teeth for when it's actually warranted.

  • WTF||

    By "blowjob" I assume you mean "committing perjury".

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Yes.

    He lied under oath about an extra-marital affair...

    vs

    A shitbag who actively disregards the Constitution any time he pleases.

    On the whole badman scale, Ima have to rate Obama just a tad higher.

  • WTF||

    Of course Obama is much worse. But lying under oath to avoid responsibility in a sexual harassment case is also a crime. And the fact that the Senate refused to convict on partisan grounds even though they knew damn well he was guilty helped lead us down the path of lawlessness to where we are now. I assume future Presidents will become even more like de facto Kings.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, perjury is a crime. But that still begs the question of whether it rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. I don't think that removing a president who commits any crime while in office was the intended use of the impeachment power. Maybe it should be, but I could see that causing problems.

  • WTF||

    Maybe, but it seems that setting the precedent of allowing presidents to commit crimes without consequence has caused even greater problems.

  • Sevo||

    ..."Maybe it should be, but I could see that causing problems."

    Could be the sort of "problems" that would keep the politicos busy and out of our hair.

  • Malvolio||

    This whole "Clinton committed a serious crime for a trivial reason" never struck me as a defense of the man.

    If you commit perjury for a substantial reason -- e.g., to protect intelligence assets in foreign countries -- that is something of a defense; if you commit perjury because you are just to chickenshit to admit you are a dirt-bag, then you are trebly condemned.

  • Square||

    Committing perjury regarding a blowjob.

    You are both right.

  • R C Dean||

    NOT doing anything is condoning his behavior.

    Silence is acceptance is acquiescence is approval.

    You may not like it, but that's the way the world works.

  • Suicidy||

    Going after Clinton for perjury was along the lines of busting Capone for tax evasion. Sure it seems chickenshit to get an evil arch criminal for tax issues, but sometimes you go with what you've got to stop the bad guys.

  • ||

    This may be overly pedantic, but the universally agreed upon official rules of the English language clearly state that "teeth" and "blowjob" do not belong in the same sentence together.

  • Bryan C||

    You don't have to start the impeachments with the President. Nor does an impeachment have to result in a conviction in order to be successful.

  • BigT||

    Nor does an impeachment have to result in a conviction in order to be a complete failure.

    FIFY

  • wareagle||

    the roadblock of a Dem Senate.

  • Suicidy||

    Obama could execute an infant on live tv and Reid would still block an impeachment proceeding.

  • sasob||

    And Pelosi would still get all wet between her legs over him.

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    That's from incontinence, not arousal. I'm sure she's as dried up as an Egyptian mummy.

  • Eric Bana||

    It probably wouldn't be politically popular with "the center" either.

  • mrvco||

    They might be able to cut a deal...

    Retroactively impeach Bush for all failures during his and Obama's terms as president.

    That should give Pocahontas a clean slate to start her presidency in 2016.

  • WTF||

    Obama’s “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board are therefore invalid and unconstitutional.

    "Ask me if I care."
    - Barack Obama

  • Ranter||

    Which brings up a good question or two:
    How soon after the decision is the govt required to throw out the persons elected to serve?

    If the president shows his usual flair for disregarding the rule of the courts, what then?

  • WTF||

    If the president shows his usual flair for disregarding the rule of the courts, what then?

    Absolutely nothing. The courts have no actual enforcement power, since the executive branch controls all the guys with the guns and the legislative branch controls the money. So if the legislative branch refuses to slap him down, and they will, nothing will happen. Other than further erosion in what's left of the rule of law.

  • Malvolio||

    No actions of an agency headed by an illegal nominee will be upheld by a court. So Noel Canning can waggle their dicks at the NLRB and the judges will just shrug.

  • Christophe||

    SWAT raids can take you out of business regardless of whether a judge upholds them.

    It will lose the air of legitimacy it normally has, but not any of its real power.

  • ||

    Are any of the appointees even still serving? It's been quite a while.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    The Supreme Court had one other decision today...will that get covered?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    ENB?

  • John Thacker||

    Very similar to this case. Liberals tried to push a previous ruling further, went obviously too far for a unanimous Court. The liberal Court probably would have been okay with a more status quo buffer zone, but overreach.

  • superuser||

    asdfasdfsafasddfas

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I'm not familiar with that agency. It has a longer acronym than the NLRB.

  • Jerryskids||

    I just read the AP story on this.

    High Court Rebukes Obama On Recess Appointments

    "The Supreme Court on Thursday limited the president's power to fill high-level vacancies with temporary appointments, ruling in favor of Senate Republicans in their partisan clash with President Barack Obama."

    This is just one more sign of how racist those teabaggers on the Supreme Court are, I'm sure. Has nothing to do with the Constitutionality of the President asserting the authority to decide when the Senate is in session and when it's not.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    The AP is gonna jump the shark real soon.

  • Restoras||

    Soon?

  • Charles Easterly||

    "he AP is gonna jump the shark real soon."

    How soon is now?

  • gimmeasammich||

    For some reason this whole conversation reminds me of Spaceballs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNIwlRClHsQ

  • Charles Easterly||

    That's a good clip:

    "When will 'then' be 'now'?"
    "Soon."

  • Slammer||

    And if decisions go the other way it's a win for "the people"

  • Joe_in_Indiana||

    It was 9-0, All the Justices voted against the appointments.

  • New Normal||

    That article is pretty disgusting. It acts as if the actions of Obama being found unconstitutional doesn't really matter and it was simply a partisan ruling.

  • WTF||

    Well, it wasn't just a partisan ruling. It was also a racist ruling.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Et tu wise latino woman

  • WTF||

    Latino woman? Are you saying she is a ladyboy?

  • AlmightyJB||

    She does kinda look-a like-a man.

  • Libertymike||

    There will be some in the Chicago mafia who today will say that the Latina was not wise on this one.

  • Joe_in_Indiana||

    Since it was unconstitutional, should they not pay back the money paid to them since it was illicitly earned?

    Any work they did while there is voided.

  • Brandon||

    It's unfortunate that Lisa Jackson wasn't a recess appointment. Or Bernanke.

  • Jerryskids||

    I'm thinking, given the fact that the Constitution provides that "Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President," Congress should just declare Boehner is President next time Obama and Biden remove themselves from office to go take a dump.

  • Brandon||

    I don't think Biden removes himself from office for that. I think his staff just does periodic dipey checks.

  • Suicidy||

    Biden is the Forrest Gump of politics. Low IQ, somewhat like able,, and overachieving. Just without the connotation of honesty, integrity, and bravery.

  • ||

    Is Boehner any better?

  • iEagleHammer||

    No

  • Sevo||

    I say we take up a collection and recruit some divisions for the judicial branch.
    Way back when, there was a question as to whether Nixon would ignore the court, but as sleazy as he was, I'm pretty sure Obo is gonna show us what sleaze really means.

  • WTF||

    If Nixon had ignored the court, the media would have crucified him and congress would have impeached him and removed him from office. Obama knows he is safe from both of those things.

  • Eric Bana||

    Today, Obama’s eagerness to expand executive authority beyond Bush-era levels met with overwhelming rejection at the hands of a unanimous Supreme Court.

    Those Teathuglican Supreme Court Justices just won't get out of the way of progress.

  • John Thacker||

    4 Justices (conservatives) would have banned even the sort of recess appointments that George W. Bush did. The Breyer opinion said that what GWB did was okay, but Obama went too far.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    When this dispute first arose, the Senate still had the filibuster for nominations. Not that has been abolished by the nuclear option, meaning so long as the Senate is run by the president's party, the recess-appointment issue will rarely arise, because the Senate majority will just approve all nominees - except for those rare nominees even the Pres's own party can't stomach.

    The fun comes when the Presidency and the Senate are run by different parties and the Pres wants a way to appoint people the Senate opposes. It will be tougher for the Pres thanks to this decision.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    *now* that has been abolished

  • John||

    I suspect the filibuster will return at some point. You have to remember Harry Reid is actually retarded. No really, the man is a complete moron. It sounded like a great idea to get rid of the filibuster so Obama could put whatever nut he wanted to in the government. The problem was that getting rid of the filibuster meant that Democratic Senators could no longer tell the moonbat base that they would love to put all of these nuts in office but the evil Republicans are stopping it. Thanks to Reid going nuclear, they have to vote on these nominations and live with the consequences. That hasn't worked out too well for them. And Obama isn't getting anymore people through than he did before. It is just now the Red state Democratic Senators no longer can tell the moonbats it is the Republicans' fault.

  • John Thacker||

    The other thing is that Reid doesn't allow votes on amendments. Even his fellow Democrats are complaining now. (Who is sticking up for amendments? Dick Durbin, who would have been Majority Leader if Reid had lost. Stupid Angle.)

    Reid claims that he doesn't allow amendments because Republicans would get (potentially politically dangerous) votes on their amendments but then still filibuster the bill. That's his defense. The end result is still that the Senate doesn't vote on amendments.

    By contrast, the House votes on lots of amendments, and has had quite a few amendments pass this session opposed by leadership or a majority of Republicans, but passed by either a moderate Republican-Dem coalition, or a libertarian Republican-Dem coalition.

  • Jerryskids||

    It will be tougher for the Pres thanks to this decision.

    No tougher than it's ever been.

    And I would suggest that the whole Constitutional scheme of checks and balances was put into place specifically to make it tough to get anything done. If some Congressman wants to get something done he has to get the agreement not only of a majority of his fellow House members but a majority of the Senate and the President and the Supreme Court as well. It ensures that everybody is more or less in agreement with the necessity of doing this particular something. Kinda hard to argue that "this obviously needs to be done" if you have a majority of the House or the Senate or the Supreme Court or the President saying "doesn't look obvious to me".

  • Restoras||

    9-0

    Suck it, Obama.

  • Libertymike||

    What, Marxist Muchella doesn't already furnish him enough upon which to suck?

  • Aresen||

    Interesting that it's 9 - 0.

    That means even Beyer, Sotommayor, and Ginsberg couldn't sign on for the Blue Team.

    Of course, this will mean nothing and Team Blue will portray it as the machinations of the Republicans (as others have already pointed out.)

  • Jackand Ace||

    Sometimes we have evidence that things work like they were intended. The President pushed too far, and the Supreme Court resoundingly told him so, including his own appointees. And since Dems introduced this whole pro-forma charade to begin with, they have little to complain about. Pro-forma sessions that are only intended to block appointments will be all the rage. The charade continues.

  • John||

    Maybe you missed it being a moron and all, but the Senate has the power to block appointments. It is called "advise and consent". The Senate blocking appointments is how the system is supposed to work.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Indeed....I missed the whole process of being a moron. Thanks!

    Or did you mean, "Maybe you missed it, YOU being a moron and all..."

  • John||

    I am pretty sure that you got the adult dose of the moron process. You just didn't notice when it happened.

  • Jackand Ace||

    And here I thought, John, you were all concerned about people who are morons.

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|6.26.14 @ 11:47AM|#
    "And here I thought"

    Not.
    A.
    Chance.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Now that was a good one.

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|6.26.14 @ 11:39AM|#
    "Indeed....I missed the whole process of being a moron. "

    OK, imbecile.
    Fuck off, asshole

  • Brandon||

    Actually, the "YOU" is unnecessary, but he should've had a comma.

  • John||

    And this decision is gong to cause all kinds of disruption because every single decision these people participated in is now invalid. The President "didn't push too far". The Presidnet is a fucking imbecile who staked a legal position so absurd that even the most liberal justices could not sign off on it. And as a result, years worth of NLRB decisions are now rendered moot.

    If Democrats were capable of embarrassment or shame, the shame and embarrassment over foisting this idiot on the country would have killed half the Democrats in America by now.

  • R C Dean||

    And this decision is gong to cause all kinds of disruption because every single decision these people participated in is now invalid.

    Haven't read the decision and won't get a chance to. Did the Court actually say that explicitly?

  • blcartwright||

    I read all of the syllabus and skimmed the opinions.

    The case was brought when a company sought to set aside an NLRB decision that went against them because, they argued, there was no quorum of members to vote. The lower court agreed and set aside that decision. It was appealed to SCOTUS, disputing the lower courts conclusions on the president's power to make recess appointments. SCOTUS then ruled 9-0 then the members of the NLRB were not legally appointed. If they upheld the lower court decision, I'd reckon that the lower court's setting aside of the NLRB decision would then stand. I saw no mention of any other NLRB decisions, but I would expect the situation woudl be ripe for anybody else on the losing end of a decision of the NLRB during this period, or of the similarly constituted Consumer Protection agency, to be able to sue and have their decisions overturned without difficulty. At that point, to avoid further congestion in the courts, a judge might take the step of overturning all decisions.

  • albo||

    Suck it indeed, Our Living God.

    King George: "I pray, Mr. Adams, that the United States will not suffer unduly from its want of a monarchy."

    John Adams: "Yes, we will strive to answer those prayers, your Majesty."

  • Jerryskids||

    If Obama is our Charles I, with Valerie Jarrett as his Lord Buckingham, who shall be our Cromwell? And are we going to need Rowdy Roddy Piper's involvement?

  • booboobambam||

    21st century America:

    We, the people, do not want to be free or responsible. We want a ruler, or set of rulers who will determine for us what to think, how to act, what to eat and drink, what we can learn and teach our children, what our jobs shall be, and where and with whom we live.

    We are tired of trying to govern ourselves and want a government of our betters who know what is best for us to take care of us.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Good call. Also a good call was the abortion buffer zone being struck down.

    I'm sure the incomparable ENB is on it but it seems rather cruel to throw that kind of meat into the water when the commenting system is sucking.

  • oh my god shut the fuck up||

    .

  • Charles Easterly||

    From the article: "This ruling represents a resounding and well-deserved defeat for the Obama administration, which failed to garner even a single vote for its expansive theory of executive power."

    If only this was the start of a trend....

  • ||

    How have other Presidents fared against the court in the past? Does Obama have a worse record?

  • booboobambam||

    Those appointed illegally should be dismissed immediately and all monies they received, including any for travel, should be refunded, with interest. And any decision made by the NLRB during their time there should be voided and all cases reheard after new, legal appointments are made.

    Will this happen? Of course not. We do not live in a world where honesty and the rule of law exist.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Will this happen?

    It damn well better.

  • Curtisls87||

    From the USA Today article on this decision, "Press secretary Josh Earnest said the White House was "deeply disappointed" by the ruling but would honor it."

    I hope that is the case, but I won't hold my breath.

    What really concerns me is the next time President Obama decides that his brilliant legal mind as a Constitutional scholar has determined his actions are appropriate.

  • Sevo||

    ..."White House was "deeply disappointed" by the ruling but would honor it.""

    Isn't that kind of the lying bastard.

  • Curtisls87||

    The hubris really is amazing.

  • Cindy Gobrecht||

    Good to see that he is be held accountable Finally!!
    http://cindybiondigobrecht.wor.....-eat-cake/

  • Tony||

    This was a fun opinion because the justices really got to just make it up, there being no precedent. Based on ignoring political and practical reality (which this court is very good at), it seems like a wise outcome. But it is a victory for Republican extralegal shenanigans over the president's extralegal shenanigans. They block appointees because they don't believe the bureau in question should exist at all. They block appointees because their sole motivation in life is preventing the president from doing anything. That wasn't the case during Bush the Idiot Spawn's time (Democrats would block nominees who were too radical, because they were). A permanent ability to block presidential appointments wouldn't be a bad thing except in the anomalous case of a political party that doesn't believe in governing and whose only motivation is making Democratic presidents fail.

  • gimmeasammich||

    You do know that it was 9-0, not 5-4, right?

  • Tony||

    Did I imply that it was?

  • BigT||

    They block appointees because their sole motivation in life is preventing the president from doing anything. That wasn't the case during Bush the Idiot Spawn's time (Democrats would block nominees who were too radical, because they were).

    It's not bad when WE do it.

    Dumb ass.

  • Tony||

    It is less bad, since it's not the same thing.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|6.26.14 @ 7:17PM|#
    "It is less bad, since it's not the same thing."

    How many straws can you grasp?

  • triclops||

    have you ever had a thought which didn't inevitably end with, "how does this affect my team?"

  • Tony||

    Not appreciating the differences between the teams, and that there is a difference and it is team-based, and that everything else is jerking off, is ignorance on your part.

  • Sevo||

    So you haven't ever had a thought like that?
    Not surprising; moral cripples need guidance.

  • ||

    Tony isn't a moral cripple, because he's far, far too intellectually crippled to even comprehend right and wrong. There's a reason we don't put retards to death in this country.

  • triclops||

    A perfect answer from you!
    Everything for the team, nothing against the team, nothing outside the team.
    Anything not about playing teams is jerking off. So you even hate bipartisanship!
    You are a fascinating creature.

  • Tony||

    I didn't make reality the way it is, nor do I particularly like it.

  • BigT||

    How about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which was illegally staffed in 2012. Shouldn't that be over-turned as well, despite the later approval, everything from Jan 2012 thru July 2013 was extralegal, right?

    On January 4, 2012, Barack Obama issued a recess appointment to install Cordray as director through the end of 2013; this was highly controversial move as the Senate was technically in pro-forma session, and the possibility existed that the appointment could be challenged in court.[19]

    The constitutionality of Cordray's recess appointment came into question due to a January 2013 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that Obama's appointment of three members to the NLRB (at the same time as Cordray) violated the Constitution.[20]

    On July 16, 2013 the Senate confirmed Richard Cordray as director in a 66-34 vote.[21]
  • triclops||

    Who can find where Obama's Justice Department ranks in losing 9-0 decisions? That is a stat I would love to share with those who still think him some kind of constitutional scholar.

  • Dixon_Sider||

    Why bother? It wouldn't matter to them anyway.

  • triclops||

    Moments of cognitive dissonance in the bleevers are just about the biggest victories I can realistically hope for, at this point.

  • Tony||

    Ever consider that he might be a constitutional scholar who doesn't always agree with the geniuses on the Supreme Court?

  • Sevo||

    Ever consider that he's a lying bastard too ignorant to qualify for the term "scholar"?
    I have and evidence seems to support it.

  • ||

    He's a true renegade scholar. Kind of like the guy they always feature on Ancient Aliens.

  • triclops||

    That is a great line.

  • Number 2||

    "Ever consider that he might be a constitutional scholar ..."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

    {picks self up of floor}

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

    Is the "Constitutional Scholar" planning on releasing his college and law school transcripts? So that we can assess the level of his "scholarship?"

  • triclops||

    You could make that argument sound reasonable for decisions that aren't 9-0.

    But, as you so proudly proclaimed above, anything that isn't team politics is jerking off.

  • XM||

    Whatever happened attempts to repeal the ACA on the grounds that it didn't originate in the house? SC said it was tax.

    And then there's the matter of those ACA delays without congressional approval.

  • msimmons||

    "The law is what I say it is." ~ Barack Nixon

  • Matt Q||

    This article sounds like a Republican hackjob rather than a libertarian reasonable case. Emotional jabs like "Obama is worse than Bush" doesn't help the cause.

  • triclops||

    Maybe, but Obama is worse, not for any special reason. But because the general trend holds that each successive president consolidates the increased Executive power of his predecessor, while adding his own power grabs.

  • Christophe||

    Obama's own supreme court appointees helped strike this down. There is no other way to describe this as a massive overreach on his part.

  • roe3221||

    Its awesome.. Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out www.Fox81.com

  • msimmons||

    SCOTUS decision means zilch. 0bama will nom "replacements", Senate will confirm with simple majority, and NLRB will re-issue same rulings. Mockery for rule of law would be hitting a new high, except this will be perfectly legal. When they can game the system like this, who needs laws.

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