A federal appeals court today overturned President Obama's controversial recess appointments. The judges ruled that the appointments made to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are illegal, and the board no longer has the necessary quorum needed to operate. The court also clarified that presidential recess appointment powers only apply after the Senate has adjourned sine die. Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, responded to the court ruling in the statement below:
"I applaud the court's ruling today. While it is not new for presidents to make recess appointments, President Obama took this to an unprecedented level. This abuse of the recess appointment process is in blatant violation of the Constitution since the Senate was not in recess. Not to mention that in bypassing the formal Senate confirmation process, the ability of the American people to properly examine the background or public records of the nominees was eliminated.
"I am firmly committed to protecting our U.S. Constitution and the system of government that it created. I will continue working to see that Presidential nominees are put through the constitutionally-mandated Senate confirmation process and that the unprecedented power grab by the Executive branch is stopped."
The Constitution allows the President to make a temporary appointment, commonly referred to as a recess appointment, without Senate approval if the Senate has recessed and is no longer in session. On January 4, 2012, President Obama appointed three individuals to the National Labor Relations Board during a pro-forma session of the Senate, which is a brief meeting of the Senate (sometimes only a few minutes in duration). Despite arguments to the contrary by the White House, these appointments occurred while the Senate remained in session. Therefore, the president did not receive the consent of the Senate as required in the Constitution.