Sen. Alexander demands NLRB resignations
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on Friday demanded the resignation of certain members of the National Labor Relations Board following today’s decision by a federal appeals court that the so-called recess appointments by President Barack Obama were unconstitutional.
“These individuals should resign from the board immediately, because no decision in which they participate can be valid,” said Alexander, the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
“This judgment is proof that the administration defied the Constitution’s separation of powers and its concept of checks and balances, which are the guard against an imperial presidency,” Alexander said.
The unanimous decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is a humiliating blow to Obama, who tried to bypass the Senate last January to make the controversial appointments.
Under Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution, senators have the power of advice and consent on executive and judicial nominations, but many Senate Republicans said they were denied that power when Obama circumvented the process.
A businessman in Yakima, Washington, challenged the president’s appointments and 41 senators also filed an amicus brief in the case, Noel Canning v. NLRB. Republicans argued the Senate was in a pro-forma session, meeting every few days, and not in recess when Obama made the “recess appointments.”
The court ruled that “allowing the president to define the scope of his own appointments power would eviscerate the Constitution’s separation of powers.”
“An interpretation of ‘the recess’ that permits the president to decide when the Senate is in recess would demolish the checks and balances inherent in the advice-and-consent requirement, giving the president free rein to appoint his desired nominees at any time he pleases, whether that time be a weekend, lunch, or even when the Senate is in session and he is merely displeased with its inaction. This cannot be the law,” ruled the three-judge panel.
The appointments made to the labor board by Obama include Democrats Sharon Block, deputy Labor secretary, and Richard Griffin, a union lawyer. Republican Terence Flynn was also appointed, by later resigned.
Obama’s recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the subject of another court action.
“This decision now casts serious doubt on whether the president’s ‘recess’ appointment of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which the president announced at the same time, is constitutional,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said the court’s ruling is “a sober reminder of how far detached this administration has become from our constitutional heritage and the rule of law. By failing to follow the Constitution’s specified procedure for appointing executive officials, the president has created chaos and confusion for the business community, which has been left uncertain as to the validity of the many rules and regulations promulgated by officers that were not appointed according to the Constitution’s requirements.”