The court rejected that argument, but went even further, finding that under the Constitution, a recess occurs only during the breaks between formal year-long sessions of Congress, not just any informal break when lawmakers leave town. It also held that presidents can bypass the Senate only when administration vacancies occur during a recess.

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.

Obama claims he acted properly in the case of the NLRB appointments because the Senate was away for the holidays on a 20-day recess. But the three-judge panel ruled that the Senate technically stayed in session when it was gaveled in and out every few days for so-called “pro forma” sessions.

GOP lawmakers used the tactic – as Democrats have in the past as well – to specifically to prevent the president from using his recess power. GOP lawmakers contend the labor board has been too pro-union in its decisions. They had also vigorously opposed the nomination of Cordray.

The Obama administration is expected to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but if it stands, it means hundreds of decisions issued by the board over more than a year are invalid. It also would leave the five-member labor board with just one validly appointed member, effectively shutting it down. The board is allowed to issue decisions only when it has at least three sitting members.

On Jan. 4, 2012, Obama appointed Deputy Labor Secretary Sharon Block, union lawyer Richard Griffin and NLRB counsel Terence Flynn to fill vacancies on the NLRB, giving it a full contingent for the first time in more than a year. Block and Griffin are Democrats, while Flynn is a Republican. Flynn stepped down from the board last year.

Obama also appointed Cordray on the same day.

The court’s decision is a victory for Republicans and business groups that have been attacking the labor board for issuing a series of decisions and rules that make it easier for the nation’s labor unions to organize new members.

Read article

In a statement emailed to reporters, National Right To Work Foundation President Mark Mix said:

“As a result (of the ruling), the Board has lacked a quorum since January 3, 2012, and under a U.S. Supreme Court precedent established in 2010, the court’s ruling invalidates the Board’s biased and decidedly pro-Big Labor rulings since that time.  The court’s decision in Noel Canning is a victory for independent-minded workers who have received unjust treatment at the hands of the pro-Big Labor NLRB and will hopefully serve as a persuasive example to other federal courts deciding on the validity of Obama’s purported recess appointments.”

The  ruling also puts other Obama recess appointees in jeopardy. As the AP notes:

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.

Read the ruling here.

Now we learn this: Can you say lawless! Acting as if Obama is a King or Dictator, the NLRB will defy the court…Amazing.

NLRB: We will continue to act despite the Appeals Court decision

Mark Gaston Pearce, chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, issued the following statement in reaction to today’s DC Appeals Court decision that President Obama use of recess appointments to install three people on the NLRB last year was unconstitutional.

Pearce indicated that the NLRB will attempt to continue on regardless:

The Board respectfully disagrees with today’s decision and believes that the President’s position in the matter will ultimately be upheld. It should be noted that this order applies to only one specific case, Noel Canning, and that similar questions have been raised in more than a dozen cases pending in other courts of appeals.

In the meantime, the Board has important work to do. The parties who come to us seek and expect careful consideration and resolution of their cases, and for that reason, we will continue to perform our statutory duties and issue decisions.

Pearce, in short, is indicating that the NLRB’s strategy is to act as if the court’s ruling that the appointments were unconstitutional somehow only applies only to the particular case that went before the Appeals Court and hope that the White House can get the Supreme Court to quickly review the case.

It’s a pretty brazen strategy, but consistent with a broader administration strategy to simply ignore the court’s ruling.

Washington Examiner