Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Podcast: A debate over presidential appointment powers

January 14, 2014 by NCC Staff


Elizabeth B. Wydra and Michael D. Ramsey join the National Constitution Center’s Jeffrey Rosen for a detailed audio discussion about the limits of presidential power in the Noel Canning case.

President_Barack_Obama_nominates_Robert_Leon_Wilkins_Cornelia_Nina_Pillard_and_Patricia_MillettOn Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, the first attempt ever by the Court to issue a ruling on the Recess Appointment clause of the Constitution.

Article II, Section 2, Clause 3, of the Constitution says “The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.”

Since 1789,  various presidents have tested the boundaries of the Recess Appointment clause, but it was the appointment by President Obama in 2012 of three officials to the National Labor Relations Board that brought the current case in front of the nine Justices.

In broader terms, observers of the Noel Canning case believe the Court will decide if the Constitution limits the power of the President to deal with an obstructionist Congress, or if the Senate had the constitutional ability to define its own rules, including when it is in recess.

Joining us on the podcast are two constitutional scholars who filed briefs with the Court in this case.

Elizabeth B. Wydra is the Constitutional Accountability Center’s Chief Counsel.  Elizabeth frequently participates in Supreme Court litigation and has argued several important cases in the federal courts of appeals.

Michael D. Ramsey is the Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Professor of Law, and Director, International & Comparative Law Programs, at the University of San Diego. Mike also clerked for the Honorable Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Click the player below to hear the full podcast, or click here:

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