Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that his side would join a suit brought by Noel Canning, a family-owned business in Washington State that bottles and distributes soft drinks. The company is challenging the NLRB’s determination that it must enter into a collective bargaining agreement with a labor union.
Canning’s suit charges that Obama appointments were not lawful because the Senate had scheduled frequent pro-forma sessions to block recess appointments--which the president ignored. Typically nominations to the labor board would be voted on by the Senate.
“The president’s decision to circumvent the American people by installing his appointees at a powerful federal agency, when the Senate was not in recess, and without obtaining the advice and consent of the Senate, is an unprecedented power grab,” McConnell said. “We will demonstrate to the court how the president’s unconstitutional actions fundamentally endanger the Congress’s role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch.”
The fight is over a simple issue: When is the Senate technically in session. The GOP argues that there was enough action over the holidays to determine that the chamber was in session, but the president disagreed and went ahead with the appointments.
“The Senate should decide when the Senate is in session,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who joked that Obama might try to make “recess appointments” when the chamber is in lunch recess. McConnell said that Senate Republicans didn’t jump fast after the recess appointments because they have been “looking for the best case.”
He called Estrada “one of the country’s foremost appellate advocates. He has argued 20 cases before the United States Supreme Court, and we are gratified that he will defend the Senate’s constitutional role in the confirmation process.”