President-Congress Showdown Reaches High Court
Still wrestling with the weightiest decisions of its current session, the Supreme Court is likely to accept Monday what could be the most important case of its next one: a colossal power struggle between the White House and Congress over government appointments.
President Obama and Senate Republicans set the stage for the showdown during the past 2½ years as they fought over Obama’s proposed nominations to a little-known federal agency, the National Labor Relations Board. That battle is a microcosm of the broader war over the nomination and confirmation process — one that dates back over several presidencies.
The story line is simple: Obama’s nominees were blocked by Republicans, just as many of President George W. Bush’s choices were blocked by Democrats. So in January 2012 — with the Senate meeting every three days in pro-forma sessions but not conducting any business — Obama used the Constitution’s “recess appointments” clause to install them without Senate approval.