By MELANIE TROTTMAN, JESS BRAVIN and MICHAEL R. CRITTENDEN
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that President Barack Obama violated the Constitution in filling labor board vacancies, a decision that could reshape a long-standing practice by U.S. presidents to make recess appointments.
A federal appeals court ruled that President Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies on a labor panel. Aaron Zitner reports on Lunch Break. Photo: AP.
Such appointments—which bypass Senate approval to install top administration personnel—have been used by presidents for at least 90 years. But in the past two decades, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton ratcheted up use of the tactic to avert congressional obstacles. Friday’s decision, if it holds, would restrain that power.
The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the National Labor Relations Board for the past year has lacked the quorum required to conduct most business because three board members were named by Mr. Obama in recess appointments the court ruled invalid.
The decision strips the board of key powers and could void some of its actions over the past year.
The board made more than 200 case rulings last year, including a decision that protected workers from being fired for complaining about working conditions on sites like Facebook, FB +1.48% and a decision that gave greater rights to unions in employee-discipline cases.