Supreme Court Strikes Down Obama's Recess Appointments

The power struggle started in 2012 with Obama's NLRB appointments during a three-day Senate recess.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Obama's Recess Appointments
Wikimedia Commons / Elizabeth Cromwell

The U.S. Supreme Court has officially sided with Congress in the power struggle over presidential recess appointments.

"As we mentioned, now the Supreme Court ruling moments ago, the recess appointments made by President Obama to the National Labor Board without Senate confirmation were illegal." ​(Via Fox News)

"Officials placed in top government jobs temporarily without Senate approval. In other words, the president didn't wait for Senate approval to appoint these people, and the U.S. Supreme Sourt has ruled that is wrong." (Via CNN)

Fox News reports the court ruled unanimously in favor of Senate Republicans and has limited the president's power to make temporary appointments to fill high-level government jobs. President Obama may now only exercise appointment powers during recesses that last 10 days or longer.

The high stakes power struggle started when President Obama named three people to the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was on a three-day recess back in 2012. (Via The White House)

Now, the Constitution does allow a president to make temporary appointments during a recess without approval from Congress. 

But as the Los Angeles Times points out, the Senate says it was technically in what's called a "pro forma" session at the time. Lawmakers have been fighting the appointments, claiming the Senate was never technically shut down.

Politico notes four of the justices would have done more than just strike down those three appointments if they could. They ruled President Obama overstepped his authority because "the vacancies did not arise during that break and because the president’s recess appointment power only occurs during breaks between usually year-long sessions of the Senate."

The court's decision doesn't reverse any current appointments.