While most eyes were focused on the Hobby Lobby decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, pointed toward the NLRB v. Canning decision. DeSantis insisted this decision found President Barack Obama violated the Constitution with recess appointments.
“In a unanimous 9-0 judgment, the Supreme Court repudiated President Obama’s attempt to circumvent the safeguards contained in the Constitution by installing two members onto the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) without obtaining the required Senate confirmation,” DeSantis noted.
“The Recess Appointments Clause is clear that the president can unilaterally fill a vacancy when (1) the vacancy is created during the recess of the Senate and (2) the appointment is made during that recess,” DeSantis continued. “For decades, presidents have routinely abused the Recess Appointments Clause by appointing individuals to fill vacancies during a Senate recess even when the initial vacancy did not “happen during the recess of the Senate. Obama went even further — he purported to use the Recess Appointment Clause to justify filling vacancies while the Senate was not even in recess. If Obama had his way, the constitutionally-mandated Senate confirmation process would be a dead letter.
“All nine justices found that Obama violated the Constitution, but the court split 5-4 on the underlying rationale,” DeSantis added. “Five justices construed the recess appointment power in a way that vindicated past presidents’ use of the power while enforcing the requirement that the Senate actually be in recess for the clause to apply. Four justices simply applied the Constitution as written, which rendered Obama’s actions unconstitutional but also called into question the practices of past presidents. When there is a conflict between past practices and the text of the Constitution, it is the latter, these four justices reasoned, that must prevail.