The U.S. Supreme Court in January heard oral arguments in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, a case in which President Obama’s recess appointments of three of the NLRB’s five members were called into question.
By the time the high court announced its unanimous decision Thursday – that the president’s three NLRB appointments ran afoul of the Constitution’s so-called Recess Appointment Clause – the issues before the justices were pretty much moot.
That’s because the three controversial recess appointees, seated in January 2012, all left the board by August 2013, when they were replaced by Obama nominees that actually were confirmed by the Senate.
Be that as it may, there was much more at stake than whether Noel Canning of Yakima, Wash., engaged in unfair labor practices in negotiations with its unionized workers.
The larger issue was whether Mr. Obama, or any president for that matter, can ignore the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, which requires Senate consent before “officers of the United States” are seated, including, presumably, NLRB board members.