Obama Violated The Constitution- Panel Rules Pres Violated The Constitution With Recess Appointments

January 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

obama vCourt opinion throws labor panel rulings, operation into question as White House slams decision
Published January 25, 2013 FoxNews.com

WASHINGTON –  A federal court’s ruling  Friday that President Obama violated the Constitution with recess appointments  to the National Labor Relations Board opened the door to claims that a host of  rulings and other past appointments may be in question, as the White House  blasted the decision as unfounded.

The administration is expected to appeal. Though White House Press Secretary  Jay Carney would not confirm that, he called the ruling “novel and  unprecedented.”

“It contradicts 150 years of practice by Democratic and Republican  administrations. So we respectfully but strongly disagree with the ruling,”  Carney said.

He denied that the ruling would have any bearing on other decisions and  appointees. “This is one court, one case, one company,” Carney  stressed.

But Republican lawmakers who have railed against the administration’s recess  appointments, as well as the often union-favoring decisions of the NLRB,  rejected that view.

“Today’s ruling will certainly cause other opinions unconstitutionally issued  by the board to be invalidated,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said. “The  unconstitutionally appointed members of the NLRB should do the right thing and  step down.”

He also urged the NLRB to take the “responsible course” and stop issuing  decisions “until a constitutionally sound quorum can be established.”

The quorum issue is critical, as the NLRB only has three members — the  typically five-member board is only allowed to issue decisions when it has at  least three members. The court decision pertained to three separate appointees,  two of whom are still on the board. If those two left, there would be just one  validly appointed member — effectively shutting the board down.

If the decision stands, it could also invalidate hundreds of board decisions  made over the past year.

The ruling also threw into question Obama’s recess appointment of Richard  Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray’s appointment,  made in early January along with the three NLRB appointments in question, has  been challenged in a separate case.

“The recess appointments are invalid,” C. Boyden Gray, former White House  counsel to former President George H.W. Bush, said in a statement. He said the  questions surrounding Cordray also cast “serious doubt” on the actions taken by  the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Carney and the NLRB claimed the case would not affect the board’s  operations.

NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce said the board “respectfully disagrees with  today’s decision and believes that the president’s position in the matter will  ultimately be upheld.”

He said “we will continue to perform our statutory duties and issue  decisions.”

Carney also cited “280-plus intra-session recess appointments” dating back to  1867, suggesting the court ruling flies in the face of this history.

The suit had been brought by a local business in Washington state challenging  the National Labor Relations Board. Supported by dozens of Senate Republicans,  the case argued the president didn’t have the power to make three appointments  to the NLRB.

Attorneys for the Obama administration argued that he had the authority  because the Senate was away for the holidays on a 20-day recess. The  Constitution allows for such appointments without Senate approval when Congress  is in recess.

But during that time, GOP lawmakers argued, the Senate technically had stayed  in session because it was gaveled in and out every few days for so-called “pro  forma” sessions.

GOP lawmakers used the tactic — as Democrats had done in the past —  specifically to prevent the president from using his recess power to install  members to the labor board. The White House argued that the pro forma sessions  — some lasting less than a minute — were a sham.

But the three-judge panel for the Court of Appeals in the District of  Columbia said the appointments were not valid. The judges, all appointed by  Republican presidents, ruled that during one of those pro forma sessions on Jan.  3, the Senate officially convened its second session of the 112th Congress, as  required by the Constitution.

“Either the Senate is in session, or it is in the recess. If it has broken  for three days within an ongoing session, it is not in ‘the Recess,'” the panel  said.

The court said the president could only fill vacancies with the recess  appointment procedure if the openings arise when the Senate is in an official  recess, which it defined as the break between sessions of Congress.

“Considering the text, history and structure of the Constitution, these  appointments were invalid from their inception,” a panel said.

Republican lawmakers lauded the decision.

“Today’s ruling reaffirms that the Constitution is above political party or  agenda, despite what the Obama administration seems to think,” Sen. Orrin Hatch,  R-Utah, said. “With this ruling, the D.C. Circuit has soundly rejected the Obama  administration’s flimsy interpretation of the law, and will go a long way toward  restoring the constitutional separation of powers.”

In early January, Obama appointed Deputy Labor Secretary Sharon Block, union  lawyer Richard Griffin and NLRB counsel Terence Flynn to fill vacancies on the  NLRB, giving it a full contingent for the first time in more than a year. Block  and Griffin are Democrats, while Flynn is a Republican. Flynn stepped down from  the board last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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