WASHINGTON — A Supreme Court decision striking down President Obama’s appointment of three members to the National Labor Relations Board during a Senate recess will help “rein in his abuse of power and restored some checks and balances to our system of government,” Rep. John Kline said Thursday.
The court ruled against Obama’s appointments of three people to NLRB in 2012 while the Senate was on a three-day recess, a procedural maneuver meant to bypass the confirmation process in the Senate. Justice Stephen Breyer said the three-day window wasn’t long enough to constitute a true recess and that breaks of 10 days or more were permissible for recess appointments.
Kline, a frequent critic of the NLRB under Obama, held a hearing of his Education and the Workforce Committee in February 2012 to examine Obama’s appointments to the board. At the time he called it “an unconstitutional scheme” used to “address a political problem.”
He welcomed Thursday’s decision [PDF]. In a statement, Kline said, “For more than two years, workers, employers, and unions have lived under a cloud of uncertainty because of the president’s unconstitutional appointments to the board. The president’s unprecedented action was one of many intended to further his own partisan agenda by circumventing the Constitution and side-stepping Congress. Thankfully the Supreme Court has helped rein in his abuse of power and restored some checks and balances to our system of government.”
As the New York Times notes, the decision’s immediate impact on recess appointments is diminished by new Senate rules meant to ease nominees’ path through the Senate over the minority party’s objections. But the ruling calls into question NLRB decisions made during the tenure of the recess appointees.