Mitch McConnell nomination fight heads to Supreme Court
By: Burgess Everett
December 9, 2013 12:44 PM EST
Mitch McConnell is taking his opposition to President Barack Obama’s recess appointments all the way to the Supreme Court.
The nation’s highest court on Monday granted the Senate’s Republican leader and his colleagues 15 minutes of oral argument in a case that challenges the constitutionality of Obama’s appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. Noel Canning, a bottling company, is disputing rulings made by the NLRB after Obama recess-appointed three to the board after a new Senate session began in January 2012.
The Senate Republicans may be represented by Miguel Estrada, a Washington lawyer who filed an amicus brief in the case for McConnell and his entire 45-member caucus.
The Republicans argue that Obama usurped congressional power and bypassed the Senate’s advise and consent responsibilities by appointing nominees while the Senate was conducting “pro-forma” sessions, when the chamber sporadically convenes and immediately gavels out. The GOP believes that these appointments occurred when the Senate was in session, not during a during an official recess.
The case will come before the Supreme Court on Jan. 13. Several lower courts have ruled against the Obama administration in challenges to recess appointments.
Though the case will have broad repercussions regarding the balance of power between Congress and the president, the NLRB’s roster will be unaffected. The Senate confirmed five new members to the board in July after a high-profile fight over the chamber’s rules, a battle sparked by Republican objections to new NLRB nominees.