Damon Root on Liberals and Executive Power


Presidents Bush and Obama
White House

On Monday January 13, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a major case testing the scope of presidential power. At issue is President Barack Obama's controversial use of the recess appointments power to bypass the Senate confirmation process and add three new members to the National Labor Relations Board. Obama did not make those appointments when the Senate was technically in recess, but did so instead when the Senate was in session. The president has received the support of some conservatives, but also gets strong support from a leading liberal organization, the Constitutional Accountability Center. That's surprising, writes Damon Root, because it stands in such marked contrast to previous progressive interpretations of the Recess Appointments Clause, most notably that of Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. In 2003, Kennedy filed his own friend of the court brief when the federal courts heard a similar case dealing with President Bush.