“Breaking: Supreme Court unanimously rejects Obama recess appointments”
— Although surprisingly, they did so without citing the emission of CO2 as the reason — though I haven’t yet checked if John Roberts, after much deliberation, was unable to declare the unconstitutional recess appointments a tax, and so found his hand forced.
In other words, I don’t much care anymore what the Supreme Court says, save for Thomas, Alito, and on many (but not all) occasions, Scalia.
But some of you may still. And I’m a giver. So here (via Ed Morrissey, quoting NBC News):
The US Supreme Court today limited a president’s power to make recess appointments when the White House and the Senate are controlled by opposite parties, scaling back a presidential authority as old as the republic.
The case arose from a political dispute between President Obama and Senate Republicans, who claimed he had no authority to put three people on the National Labor Relations Board in January 2012 when the Senate was out of town.
He used a president’s power, granted by the Constitution, to “fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate.” But the Republicans said the Senate was not in recess at the time the appointments were made, because every three days a senator went into the chamber, gaveled it to order, and then immediately called a recess.
By a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court agreed that the Senate was not in recess, holding that it’s up to both houses of Congress to define when they’re in session or in recess. As a result of the decision, the Senate can frustrate a president’s ability to make recess appointments simply by holding periodic pro forma sessions, a tactic used in recent years by both political parties.
The question, the court said, is whether the Senate had the capacity to act. It found that during the recess at issue, the court did have that power.
Of course, now that the Senate Republicans have allowed appointments be made with 51 votes — fillibuster proof, for the most part — it doesn’t really matter all that much, precisely because John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Lamar Alexander, Thad Cochran, and Lindsey Graham are still kicking.