U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) Friday said he applaudes with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s ruling that President Obama’s “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional:
“The President knowingly tested the limits for making these controversial NRLB recess appointments, and I applaud the U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that reaffirms his actions were unconstitutional,” Inhofe said. “The President knew his nominees did not have the support of the Senate and took matters into his own hands. This is not how to go about fulfilling a campaign promise for more government transparency. In the future, I hope the President and the NLRB will see the importance of allowing its future members be approved by the people’s elected officials.”
On September 26, 2012, Inhofe joined 41 Republican colleagues in filing an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in support for the lawsuit filed by Noel Canning (Canning v. NLRB). The brief argues that by declaring the Senate to be in a continual period of recess when it had determined to be in session regularly, the President usurped the Senate’s authority to establish the Rules of its own proceedings. It also argues that by appointing high-level federal officers (National Labor Relations Board and Consumer Financial Protection Board members) without the Senate’s consent and when it was not in “recess” within the meaning of the Recess Appointments Clause, he took away its right to review and reject nominations.
Before the U.S. Senate adjourned for the end of 2011, Senate Republicans also sent a letter to President Obama warning him to not appoint controversial nominees during recess. However, the Senate never adjourned and instead conducted a pro forma session of Congress. During a pro forma session, the President does not have authority to make recess appointments.