The Senate’s top two leaders traded barbs after the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Constitution doesn’t permit the President to make recess appointments during breaks from Senate business that the chamber doesn’t officially define as a recess, known as pro forma sessions.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said it vindicates his decision in November to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for most presidential nominees, and stood by President Barack Obama’s decision to recess-appoint people to run the National Labor Relations Board while Republicans refused to fill the slots.
“Since President Obama took office, Senate Republicans have done everything possible to deny qualified nominees from receiving a fair up-or-down vote,” Reid said. “More than anything, today’s Supreme Court ruling underscores the importance of the rules reform Senate Democrats enacted last November. … Since the November reform the Senate has been confirming qualified nominees at a steady pace and today’s ruling will have no effect on our ability to continue ensuring that qualified nominees receive an up-or-down vote.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised the Court’s decision, saying the justices unanimously voted to reject Obama’s “brazen power-grab.”
“I welcome the Supreme Court’s important decision today that the President’s so-called ‘recess’ appointments to the National Labor Relations Board two and one-half years ago were unconstitutional,” he said. “This administration has a tendency to abide by laws that it likes and to disregard those it doesn’t. In this case, that disturbing and dangerous tendency extended to the Constitution itself.”