WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Republican U.S. senator on Sunday said a federal appeals court ruling against President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board could invalidate rulings made by the agency.
A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that Obama violated the U.S. Constitution when he used recess appointments in January 2012 and installed three nominees to the NLRB.
Senator Robert Corker said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” that the ruling indicated the administration had overreached, characterizing the appointments as abusive.
“It was a huge victory for anybody who believes in balance of power and the Constitution,” Corker said. “This ruling is very far-reaching and actually knocks down decades of action by presidents, as far as common practice goes.”
The labor board nominees were facing stiff Republican opposition and Obama side-stepped Senate confirmations hearings by installing them with recess appointments. Republicans said he had undercut the Senate’s power to confirm nominees because although most of its members were out of town, the chamber had not formally adjourned.
Friday’s ruling also could limit presidential power to push through federal nominees and may be used to undo more decisions by the NLRB, and regulations by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The consumer agency’s director, Richard Cordray, was named at the same time as the board members.
Corker was asked if the ruling invalidates more than 300 rulings made by the NLRB in the past year and those regulations established under Cordray at the CFPB and said it “could well do it.”
“In each case, someone might have to challenge the rulings to make them invalid,” he said.
The White House has said the court decision will not impact Cordray.
The No. 2 Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin, defended the White House’s use of recess appointments due to fierce Republican resistance.
“In its frustration, this administration said, we were elected to govern,” Durbin said “Fox News Sunday.” “Whether it’s a National Labor Relations Board or whatever, they wanted to put people in place to govern.”
Reporting By Margaret Chadbourn; Editing by Bill Trott