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Opinion: Morning Examiner

Morning Examiner: Democrats poised to change Senate rules and avoid major loss in Supreme Court

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Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Morning Examiner,Senate,Supreme Court,Democratic Party,Analysis

Senate Democrats say they have the 51 votes necessary to change Senate rules Tuesday, enabling President Obama to fill three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board, thus allowing him to avoid an embarrassing Supreme Court loss next year.

Dictating change
“The power of an extreme minority now threatens the very integrity of this institution,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said at a Center for American Progress event about his proposed Senate rule change Monday. “My efforts are directed to save the Senate from becoming obsolete, to remain relevant and effective as an institution,” he continued. “To do that, the Senate must evolve to meet the challenges of modern-day America. This is really a moment in history when circumstances dictate the need for change.”

The real issue
For all the talk of “extreme” minorities and Senate obsolescence, there actually is plenty of consensus on most of the issues at hand. Reid has scheduled votes on seven nominees for Tuesday morning, but Republicans say Reid already has enough votes to confirm four of them (Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez, EPA Administrator nominee Gina McCarthy, Consumer Financial Protection Board Director nominee Richard Cordray, and Export-Import Bank President nominee Fred Hochberg), without changing Senate rules.

Republicans are only objecting to the nominations of three NLRB members and not because any of them are unqualified. If Obama is allowed to fill the NLRB vacancies, then the NLRB would have a quorum, and they would then be able to rewrite much of U.S. labor law.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held in NLRB v. Noel Canning, that Obama overstepped his authority as president when he unilaterally declared Congress in recess in January 2012 and then recess-appointed three members to the NLRB. If Obama gets his current NLRB nominees confirmed, the NLRB could reissue the underlying regulation at stake in Noel Canning, rendering the case moot, ending the litigation all together.

A triple win for Obama
If the Senate votes to end the filibuster for executive nominees to independent agencies today, not only will progressive Democrats be free to rewrite business-labor relations in this country, but Obama will also avoid an embarrassing loss in the Supreme Court, and preserve his power to make recess appointments.

The showdown is scheduled for 10 AM today.

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In Other News
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The Washington Post, Civil rights charges unlikely: Evidence does not point to a hate crime, Justice Department officials say.
Pew Research, Modest Public Interest in Close of Zimmerman Trial: The final days of the trial of George Zimmerman, which concluded July 13 with a verdict of not guilty, attracted relatively modest public interest overall. In a weekend survey, 26% say they were following news about the trial very closely.
The Los Angeles Times, Multiple people taken into custody by LAPD: Multiple protesters denouncing the George Zimmerman verdict were taken into custody Monday night after Los Angeles police declared an unlawful assembly in the Crenshaw district.
The Washington Post, In Mexico, rails are risky crossing for a new wave of Central American migrants: At a time when illegal immigration to the United States remains near its lowest point in four decades, the number of Central Americans coming north has soared, putting new attention on the rail system that brings thousands to the border each year.

Lefty Playbook
Edward Wyckoff Williams says our real problem is white rage.
Jamelle Bouie claims there is no such thing as black-on-black crime.
Think Progress attacks McDonalds for giving its employees financial advice.

Righty Playbook
James Pethokoukis on a new study showing Obamacare could cause 1 million low-income Americans to move from work to welfare.
John Yoo asks what federal law Zimmerman could possibly have violated.
Rich Lowry backs up the factual claims he made on immigration on Meet the Press.

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