The chickens are beginning to come home to roost on one of President Barack Obama’s favorite pastimes – bypassing the Senate to fill vacancies on a labor relations panel and his proliferation of recess appointments overall.
A federal appeals panel ruled that unconstitutional a week ago. Many are wondering why it has taken so long to rule against the freelancing president.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that Obama did not have the power to make three recess appointments last year to the National Labor Relations Board.
The unanimous decision is an embarrassing setback for the president who made the appointments after Senate Republicans spent months blocking his choices for an agency they considered biased in favor of unions.
Let’s see, Obama appointees and unions as one of core bases of support. That seems logical.
One need not look further for evidence of this occurring than the NLRB’s attempt to block Boeing from building a non-union plant in South Carolina. It sent Republicans and South Carolina politicians into a state of abject anger.
With the ruling last week, it now brings into question the recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. His appointment is being challenged in a separate case.
Naturally Cordray is a longtime Obama enthusiast.
Obviously the president contends his NLRB appointees were legally utilizing their power since the Senate was away for the holidays on a 20-day recess. However, the three-judge panel ruled that the Senate technically stayed in session since they were “active” every few days in a "pro forma" format.
The president’s legal staff either knew that or don’t know their constitutional law.
Both parties have used the recess tactic. But this president was called on it, largely because of his overreach of power and the obvious abuse of the presidential privilege for his own political agenda.
GOP lawmakers contend the labor board has been too pro-union in its decisions. They had vigorously opposed the nomination of Cordray.
The Obama administration is expected to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. If they rule, as the appeals board already has, hundreds of decisions issued by the board over more than a year will be ruled invalid.
This decision is a great relief for many businesses and industries nationwide affected by the NLRB’s union-oriented decisions. This could easily be the beginning of more substantive inner-conflict between constitutionalists and progressives.
The court's decision is a major victory for Republicans and the corporate community that have vigorously attacked the labor board for issuing a series of decisions and rules that make it easier for the nation's labor unions to organize new members.
Just ask the furious management of Seattle-based Boeing and South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley – a union poster child.
This can only bolster Republicans to become more aggressive in other areas they feel Obama has overstepped his authority as president. It could be the beginning of new and less intrusive chapter in the Obama administration’s attempt to bypass Congress altogether.
This marks a two-year period that will see a more contentious relationship between the White House and the Republican-led House anxious to re-establish the Republican brand in the midterm elections of 2014.
They may have a great deal to campaign with other than recess appointments. Obamacare will have been fully enacted for almost a year before the elections.
Americans will finally begin to see what lies within the 2400 page Affordable Care Act.
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