From the Duh! files:
A federal appeals court has ruled that President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies on a labor relations panel.
The contested nominees, including Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, were appointed last January along with Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The nominations were made without the “advice and consent” of the Senate, as prescribed by the Constitution in Article II, Section II:
[The President] shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to… nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law.
The administration, however, argued that the NLRB appointments were valid under the president’s powers to take such actions when the Senate is in recess. The problem: The Senate was not actually in “recess”at the time.
And so the three-judge panel has now found, in a decision that amounts to a stunning rebuke to Obama’s imperial overreach. After a long and careful examination of the history, legality, and definition of “recess” appointments, the court concluded in part:
In short, we hold that ‘the Recess’ is limited to intersession recesses. The Board conceded at oral argument that the appointments at issue were not made during the intersession recess: the President made his three appointments to the Board on January 4, 2012, after Congress began a new session on January 3 and while that new session continued…Considering the text, history, and structure of the Constitution, these appointments were invalid from their inception.
If that logic holds true of the NLRB appointments, it seems certain that Cordray’s tenure is similarly tainted. As CEI’s John Berlau notes:
The facts and circumstances the court used to determine the NLRB officials were appointed in an unconstitutional manner almost certainly applies to the appointment Richard Cordray at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
When defending his appointment of Cordray last year, Obama chastising Congress for refusing to cave in to his demands on controversial selections to high government office:
[W]hen Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them.
How dare he speak in such manner about a co-equal branch of government? If Congress refused to acquiesce to his nominees, it presumably had reason for doing so and, acting as representative of the people, was under no constitutional obligation to cave in to the President’s wishes.
A wise president would have listened to Congress’s objections and selected different nominees who would have been acceptable to all branches of the federal government. But not Obama, who openly promised to defy Congress and the Constitution in pursuit of his mission to staff his agencies with allies of his Big Labor money masters.
And now he has received a thorough and well-deserved rebuke from one of the highest courts in the land.