WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican congressional leaders are praising the U.S. Supreme Court for rejecting what they say was an unconstitutional power grab by President Obama.
In a unanimous ruling, the justices on Wednesday said Obama exceeded his authority when he made recess appointments in 2012 to fill slots on the National Labor Relations Board that required Senate confirmation.
Obama had argued that the Senate was holding "pro forma" sessions only to block him from filling the positions. But the high court said it's up to Congress to decide when it is in formal recess.
One veteran Supreme Court lawyer says the "practical effect" of the decision is to bring the rules on recess appointments back to "what just about everyone believed them to be" before Obama adopted a "significantly broader view."
Andy Pincus said the Senate is able to block all recess appointments by convening pro-forma sessions -- a practice that he said began in the Bush administration. He said the power to make recess appointments has "receded into practical irrelevance."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the decision underscores the importance of the recent Senate rule change to make sure that a small number of senators can't block nominees.
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