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Did Obama, the Constitutional lawyer, exceed his powers?

Some people who voted for Barack Obama did so because he is a Constitutional lawyer, where that qualification should be valued for candidates pursuing the highest office. It panned out in the instance of the Affordable Healthcare Act as the Supreme Court upheld the law’s constitutionality.

Obama recess appointments on appeal to Supreme Court

There had been occasions when members of his administration abused their powers and the law.

Obama has been accused of abusing the limits of the law expressed in the Patriot Act.

“How Obama has abused the Patriot Act
The White House's justification for collecting Americans' phone data doesn't stand up to the light of day.
August 19, 2013|By Jim Sensenbrenner

The Obama administration has legally justified the National Security… (Drew Angerer / EPA )
On Aug. 9, the Obama administration released a previously secret legal interpretation of the Patriot Act that it used to justify the bulk collection of every American's phone records. The strained reasoning in the 22-page memo won't survive long in public light, which is itself one of the strongest arguments for transparency in government. As the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants."

The Heritage Foundation believes that Obama’s recess appointments were illegal. He made those appointments during a recess because Republicans blocked his ability to staff the executive branch. The Supreme Court must sort that out.

From this analyst’s perspective, it is unlikely that the court will make a radical decision that would alter the balance of power. It is most likely that the court might suggest to Congress that they remedy the situation by imposing a time limit on approving nominations, meaning put them up for a yes or no vote.

“Obama’s use of executive power faces reckoning at Supreme Court

By Kevin Bogardus and Ben Goad - 01/12/14 12:00 PM EST

Nothing less than the boundaries of executive power are at stake Monday as the Supreme Court considers whether President Obama violated the Constitution during his first term.

Oral arguments slated for Monday will center on a trio of recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that were deemed unconstitutional by lower courts.

If they uphold the decision, experts say the justices could endanger hundreds of NLRB decisions.

Even more significant are the ramifications for future presidents, with the court poised either to bolster or blunt the chief executive’s appointment powers.

“Rulings like this have implications that last for centuries,” said Michael Lotito, an employment and labor attorney and co-chairman of Littler Mendelson's Workplace Policy Institute.

Presidents have for decades used recess appointment powers when the Senate is a way to install judges and fill top federal vacancies that ordinarily would be subject to confirmation proceedings.

But with the disputed NLRB appointments, Obama became the first president to appoint nominees when the Senate was in a “pro-forma” session, when the upper chamber is briefly called to order and adjourned every few days.

The sessions are intended to prevent recess appointments, and usually only a handful of senators are present for them. In filling the NLRB posts, the Obama administration claims that the Senate is generally not available to conduct business during the sessions, so the president’s recess appointment power is in effect.

“The sham pro-forma sessions are nothing more than that,” said Catholic University law professor Victor Williams, who filed a brief backing the government’s position.”

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