President Barack Obama was wrong when he made appointments during an extended Senate break in 2012. At least that’s what the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, saying that the president went too far when he made the appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, Fox News reports.
The nation’s highest court unanimously agreed with Senate Republicans and decided to limit the president’s ability to temporarily appoint individuals to fill such vacancies. As Fox News notes, in 2012 Obama made the appointments after accusing the Senate of trying to stop him from filling the empty seats on the board by taking a lengthy holiday while still convening in brief sessions every three days.
The justices ruled that the Senate was not in a formal recess when Obama made his appointments in one of the three-day breaks. They pointed out that for a break to be classified as a recess under the Constitution, it had to extend to at least 10 days.
“Three days is too short a time to bring a recess within the scope of the Clause. Thus we conclude that the President lacked the power to make the recess appointments here at issue,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the majority opinion.
However, a 10-day recess minimum is still better than the lower-court ruling that the Supreme Court rejected. The lower court had said that the Constitution recognized only the annual recess between sessions of Congress, and that only those vacancies that occurred during that recess could be filled. Such a scenario could have severely limited Obama’s and any other future president’s executive power.
Read more at Fox News.