WASHINGTON, DC/ATLANTA, GA (June 26, 2014): As the U.S. Supreme Court today issued a much-anticipated decision in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recess appointments challenge against President Obama, Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) praised the narrow decision as “an important push-back in what has turned out to be a series of constitutional push-backs against the expansion of executive authority by the Obama administration.” National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, A Division of the Noel Canning Corp., et al. (No. 12-1281).
SLF submitted an amicus brief in the case in support of Canning, arguing that historical precedent regarding the Recess Appointments Clause and reasonable interpretation of the recess provisions governing when the President may make executive appointments when the Senate is in recess. Canning challenged the three recess appointments made by President Obama to the NLRB as a result of a labor dispute in which Canning was involved as a Pepsi-Cola distributor.
The Supreme Court held that the three-day Senate recess during which Obama made the NLRB appointments was not long enough to trigger the Recess Appointments Clause powers. The Court wrote, “The Clause should be interpreted as granting the President the power to make appointments during a recess but not offering the President the authority routinely to avoid the need for Senate confirmation.”
President Obama has consistently pursued a path of aggressive executive action through appointments and agency regulations, much like the EPA greenhouse gas case decided by the Court this week, that pushes the envelope beyond the limits established by the Constitution. The Canning decision provides another in a sequence of Supreme Court decisions that roll back the expansion of executive authority into unconstitutional territory and serve to reinforce the pillar of separation of powers.
Click here for Supreme Court decision
Click here for SLF amicus brief in Canning