"In a double-barrelled blast at President Obama, Senate Republicans today moved to join a lawsuit challenging the White House’s Christmas “recess appointment” of National Labor Relations Board members even though the Senate was technically in session. To handle their case, they hired Miguel Estrada, who in 2002 became the first-ever judicial nominee to be torpedoed by a Democratic filibuster.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that his side would join a suit brought by Noel Canning, a family-owned business in Washington State that bottles and distributes soft drinks. The company is challenging the NLRB’s determination that it must enter into a collective bargaining agreement with a labor union.
Canning’s suit charges that Obama appointments were not lawful because the Senate had scheduled frequent pro-forma sessions to block recess appointments--which the president ignored. Typically nominations to the labor board would be voted on by the Senate.
“The president’s decision to circumvent the American people by installing his appointees at a powerful federal agency, when the Senate was not in recess, and without obtaining the advice and consent of the Senate, is an unprecedented power grab,” McConnell said. “We will demonstrate to the court how the president’s unconstitutional actions fundamentally endanger the Congress’s role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch.”
The fight is over a simple issue: When is the Senate technically in session. The GOP argues that there was enough action over the holidays to determine that the chamber was in session, but the president disagreed and went ahead with the appointments."