Obama’s end run around Congress draws further review from Supreme Court

Monday, January 13, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times
Sunday, January 12, 2014

For the Supreme Court, whether President Obama’s recess appointments were legal could well rest on whether the justices side with Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Madison, or whether they stick with the 40 men who followed the founders.

The case the court will hear Monday has all the makings of a legal thriller — Congress battling the president, with the Supreme Court, sitting for its first oral argument of 2014, called to settle the spat.

It’s also what lawyers call a “case of first impression,” meaning the justices have never ruled on this particular question, so there is no firm precedent to guide them.

Making the issue all the more delicious for Washington are the accusations of power grabs and political hypocrisy: Mr. Obama, who is claiming broad recess powers, objected to those very same powers when he was in the Senate and Democrats used the same questionable tactics in 2007 and 2008 to block President George W. Bush’s appointments.

“Three federal circuit courts of appeals have already ruled that the president violated the Constitution when he made so-called recess appointments while the Senate was in session, and now the U.S. Supreme Court has an opportunity to guard against the dangers of an imperial presidency,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, one of the Republicans who have pushed back the hardest against Mr. Obama.

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