President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies on a labor relations panel, a federal appeals court panel ruled Friday.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that Obama did not have the power to make three recess appointments last year to the National Labor Relations Board.The unanimous decision is an embarrassing setback for the president, who made the appointments after Senate Republicans spent months blocking his choices for an agency they contended was biased in favor of unions.The ruling also throws into question Obama’s recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray’s appointment, also made under the recess circumstance, has been challenged in a separate case.
a) The NLRB’s “ambush election” proposal that would shorten the timeframe for union elections to less than three weeks and limit the ability of employers’ lawyers to challenge NLRB decisions about who votes in the election;b) Forcing employers in all industries . . . to bargain with “micro-unions” that represent narrow groups of workers within a company (even workers of a single job title);c) Limiting employees’ rights to not fund political activities by preventing workers from viewing auditors reports of union spending and by classifying lobbying expenses as “representational activities”’;d) Preventing employers from ending payroll dues deductions when a collective bargaining agreement expires;e) Restricting employers ability to limit off-duty access to a workplace in order – thus expanding access for union organizers;f) Narrowing the definition of supervisors (who cannot be unionized) to expand the number of employees unions can organize;g) Expanding the definition of “concerted activity” to include public complaints about an employer or boss in social media;h) Asserting NLRB jurisdiction over public charter schools;i) Requiring employers to give unions copies of sworn witness statements in investigations into workplace misconduct, chilling the ability of employees to speak freely without fear of repercussions.
Article I, Section 5, of the Constitution states that neither house of Congress may adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other house. The House of Representatives did not consent to a Senate recess of more than three days at the end of last year, and so the Senate, consistent with the requirements of the Constitution, must have some sort of session every few days. The president and anyone else may object that the Senate is conducting ‘pro forma’ sessions, but that does not render them constitutionally meaningless, as some have argued.”
At Tuesday’s closed-door caucus meeting, [Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)] was upbraided by Reid for breaking unspoken Senate rules and naming specific senators in a conference call with Democratic activists last week, according to sources familiar with the exchange. “He’s pissed off so many in the caucus,” said one Democratic aide piqued at Merkley. “He has been having conference calls with progressive donors and activists trying to get them energized. He’s named specific Dem senators. Many are furious.