Supreme Court limits President Obama's appointments power - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Supreme Court limits President Obama's appointments power

Posted: Updated:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday 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.

The court's first-ever case involving the Constitution's recess appointments clause ended in a unanimous decision holding that Obama's appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 without Senate confirmation were illegal. Obama invoked the Constitution's provision giving the president the power to make temporary appointments when the Senate is in recess.

Problem is, the court said, the Senate was not actually in a formal recess when Obama acted.

Obama had argued that the Senate was on an extended holiday break and that the brief sessions it held every three days were a sham that was intended to prevent him from filling seats on the NLRB.

The justices rejected that argument Wednesday.

The issue of recess appointments receded in importance after the Senate's Democratic majority changed the rules to make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of most Obama appointees.

But the ruling's impact may be keenly felt by the White House next year if Republicans capture control of the Senate in the November election. The potential importance of the ruling lies in the Senate's ability to block the confirmation of judges and the leaders of independent agencies like the NLRB. A federal law gives the president the power to appoint acting heads of Cabinet-level departments to keep the government running.

Still, the outcome was the least significant loss possible for the administration. The justices, by a 5-4 vote, rejected a sweeping lower court ruling against the administration that would have made it virtually impossible for any future president to make recess appointments.

The lower court held that the only recess recognized by the Constitution is the once-a-year break between sessions of Congress. It also said that only vacancies that arise in that recess could be filled. So the high court has left open the possibility that a president, with a compliant Congress, could make recess appointments in the future.

A recess appointment can last no more than two years. Recess appointees who subsequently won Senate confirmation include Chief Justice Earl Warren and Justice William Brennan, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, two current NLRB members and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray. Former UN Ambassador John Bolton is among recess appointees who left office because they could not win a Senate vote.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:51 PM EDT2014-07-24 16:51:39 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.
  • Action Cam: Lavender season at 'Fleur de Provence'

    Action Cam: Lavender season at 'Fleur de Provence'

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:49 PM EDT2014-07-24 16:49:45 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Nestled at the base of the beautiful Green Bluff farming community just north of Spokane, Fleur de Provence Lavender Farm overlooks the ever-changing wheat fields of Peone Prairie. While miles away from our namesake in Provence, France, a visit to our farm provides a similar experience.
    KHQ.COM - Nestled at the base of the beautiful Green Bluff farming community just north of Spokane, Fleur de Provence Lavender Farm overlooks the ever-changing wheat fields of Peone Prairie. While miles away from our namesake in Provence, France, a visit to our farm provides a similar experience.
  • PHOTOS: Severe thunderstorms roll through the Inland Northwest

    PHOTOS: Severe thunderstorms roll through the Inland Northwest

    Thursday, July 24 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-07-24 14:44:35 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A storm seemed to leave just as fast as it arrived Wednesday in Spokane. High winds blew over trees and utility lines, causing widespread power outages and some severe property damage. INSIDE>>>| Power Outages | PHOTOS |
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A storm seemed to leave just as fast as it arrived Wednesday in Spokane. High winds blew over trees and utility lines, causing widespread power outages and some severe property damage. INSIDE>>>| Power Outages | PHOTOS |
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.