This morning, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a number of President Obama’s recess appointments violated the US Constitution:

In a case freighted with major constitutional implications, a federal appeals court on Friday overturned President Obama’s controversial recess appointments from last year, ruling he abused his powers and acted when the Senate was not actually in a recess.

The three-judge panel’s ruling is a major blow to Mr. Obama. The judges ruled that the appointments Mr. Obama made to the National Labor Relations Board are illegal, and the board no longer has a quorum to operate.

But the ruling has even broader constitutional significance, with the judges arguing that the president’s recess appointment powers don’t apply to “intrasession” appointments, those made when Congress has left town for a few days or weeks.

This wasn’t a split decision. It was unanimous. President Obama’s recess appointments to the NLRB aren’t legitimate, thereby depriving that board of the quorum needed to make rulings.

The question now is whether President Obama will act as defiant as he usually acts. My bet is that he’ll act defiant because he doesn’t know any other way of acting. Another question left unanswered is whether the American people will express outrage over this president’s indignation towards the US Constitution. Finally, will Democrats defend President Obama’s extraconstitutional actions in their attempt to appease Big Labor?

I’m betting that President Obama will remain defiant. I’m betting that the American people won’t express outrage that President Obama thinks that the Constitution and the laws don’t apply to him. Finally, I’m betting that Democrats will defend President Obama’s appointments because they’re afraid of incurring Big Labor’s wrath.

This is significant, too:

The judges signaled the power only applies after Congress has adjourned sine die, which is a legislative term of art that signals the end to a long work period. In modern times, it means the president could only use his powers when Congress quits business at the end of a year.

“The dearth of intrasession appointments in the years and decades following the ratification of the Constitution speaks far more impressively than the history of recent presidential exercise of a supposed power to make such appointments,” the judges wrote.

TRANSLATION: The patriots that crafted the Constitution had more respect for the Constitution than do today’s politicians. I heartily agree.

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4 Responses to “President Obama’s constitutional crisis”

  • walter hanson says:

    I heard Jay Carney scream bloodly murder on the radio a couple of minutes ago about how this broke over 150 years of bi-partisan rule. Really? I thought the Democrats made sure when they controlled the Senate kept it from being in recess so Bush couldn’t do any recess appointments.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • walter hanson says:


    There won’t be outrage because the media won’t make it an issue. If it was a Republican who did this it will be major news and the Senate Democrats will highlight it the way they talked about six US attorneys being fired.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • J. Ewing says:

    Question: Did the NLRB take any actions that must now be set aside because the body was illegal?

  • Gary Gross says:

    A: 128 actions that will likely be thrown out, including some major ‘victories’ for Big Labor.

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