Supreme Court rules unanimously that Obama’s NLRB recess appointments are invalid


The recess appointments decision leaves the President lots of power but says a three day recess was too short to make these appointments… pro forma sessions were valid

So now the law of the land is the president can’t do it. Ruling here:

Washington (CNN) – The Supreme Court sided with Congress on Thursday in the high-stakes power struggle over presidential recess appointments, in which officials are placed in top government jobs temporarily without Senate approval.

The unanimous ruling by the court against the Obama administration could invalidate hundreds of decisions by the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency at the center of this legal fight.

At issue is whether three people named by President Barack Obama to the board were ineligible to serve because their appointments were made while the Senate was technically in a “pro forma” session during the 2011-12 winter holiday break.

The Constitution allows a president to fill temporary appointments during a recess, without congressional approval. But more recently, lawmakers have sought to thwart certain appointments by never technically shutting down the Senate.


If you want to listen to the oral arguments, they are here:
Supreme Court Presidential Recess Appointment Power Oral Argument


So what the court ruling means is, if the senators go home for an extended period of time but have not formally called for a recess, if a high-level position becomes vacant, it will remain so until the senators get around to going back to Washington and putting together a Senate Confirmation hearing for the president’s nominee for the position.

People like this because it goes against Obama.

But wait when a Republican is in the WH and the democrats play with this ruling in order to delay high-level appointments that president makes.

Then we’ll wonder how our government got on it’s death spiral.



It is a pretty narrow decision. It just says that the president needs to honor the pro-forma meetings of the legislature and a 3 day adjournment is too short of a time to squeeze in appointments. The ruling actually said anything less than 10 days would be too short.

It was a unanimous decision.


Do you have a problem with the decision? Even the most liberal justices agreed.

Besides, the GOP will win the Senate and, because the Democrats used the nuclear option, will only need a simple majority to approve the appointments.




That is your opinion. Many of us like it because it follows the intent of how are three branches are supposed to work. And note it was a unanimous decision, which hardly makes it partisan, as you are making it out to be.

They specifically cited the three day window of an informal break as not meeting the standards for recess. if anything, this reinforces the separation of powers, showing some sense of American civic principle is alive. If a republican has done this in this past, they’d have been rightly challenged as well. I don’t think most conservatives favor under handed tactics from their candidates any more than they do Obama.


Yes, for reasons I stated.

The decision was made because the Senate had not formally gone into recess, just left town when a high level appointment was needed by the administration.

I agree that the president needs to follow the Constitution, which he thought he was doing, but the technical issue of it not being a “formal recess,” is a game that will be used in the future as a way of political revenge and manipulation.

So, in the future, they just wont bother calling a formal recess, in order to block the sitting administration from making any appointments.



Which as far as I am concerned is fine. The whole point of this clause in the constitution was because back in the day it took too long to form the legislature to approve an appointment if it had to be made between sessions. Well that isn’t the case in this day and age. The Senators can fly back in a matter of hours if someone of importance needs to be appointed.

The intent of the Constitution is clear: the president isn’t a king, his appointments have to be OK’d by representatives of the States, in other words the Senate.

That’s way it was a unanimous decision.


Recess appointments are an anachronism. They made sense back in the days when it could take weeks ,even months to get Congress back in session but make no sense whatsoever when no one in Congress is more than a few hours away from the capital.


It should have been self evident that the senate decides when they are session, not the president. This was a 9-0 a ruling so apparently it was self evident to everyone but the president


I think it was self evident to him as well. IMHO, he was just trying to see if he could get away with it. :cool:


Well perhaps this will give some context to what I’ve been trying to say.

It was the question of pro forma sessions that had prompted the case.

Senate Democrats started the pro forma sessions in 2007 to prevent President George W. Bush from making recess appointments.

As I said, it’s going to open the wide door to block presidential appointments to high-level branches of government, which need to be filled temporarily until the senate returns.

That’s all out the door now.



Naw, if the Senate wants to confirm any appointment now days, they can. The presidents were just trying to wedge in their controversial appointments. This closes that loophole and forces both branches of government to follow the Constitution.


Well I know that the Senate can confirm any appointment they want. But now, they can also delay and block appointments and will use this more than their confirmation, especially when the President is of the opposing party.

A government more divided and incompetent than ever.



No more so than it has been for 200 years. The government seems to get its work done.

Sometimes its best not to see how sausage is made.


pro forma sessions, the issue which caused this, were started in 2007 by the democrats as a way of blocking George Bush appointments.



The ability to delay and block appointments is just what the founders envisioned. That’s why we have a separation of powers.


pro forma sessions started in 2007 by the democrats, in order to block Bush appointments.

Obama, tried to get around the very thing his party started.

It’s the pro forma sessions issue that needs to be removed.

If the senate goes home for 10 days or more, they’re in recess. Period.



Many things seem to fall into this category…


This is at least the third time SCOTUS has ruled against President Obama 9-0. The important one for me was Hosanna-Tabor. You might think that someone who taught constitutional law at a respected university would understand the constitution a little better than this. I would give him a “F” as president.

I sincerely hope we get another 9-0 decision in the Hobby Lobby case soon.

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