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Supreme Court of the United States
January 13, 2014, Argued; June 26, 2014, Decided
[*518] Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court.
Ordinarily the President must obtain “the Advice and Consent of the Senate” before appointing an “Office[r] of the [*519] United States.” U. S. Const., Art. II, §2, cl. 2. [****11] But the Recess Appointments Clause creates an exception. It gives the President alone the 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.” Art. II, §2, cl. 3. We here consider three questions about the application of this Clause.
The first concerns the scope of the words “recess of the Senate.” Does that phrase refer only to an inter-session recess (i.e., a break between formal sessions of Congress), or does it also include an intra-session recess, such as a summer recess in the midst of a session? We conclude that the Clause applies to both kinds of recess.
The second question concerns the scope of the words “vacancies that may happen.” Does that phrase refer only to vacancies that first come into existence during a recess, or does it also include vacancies that arise prior to a recess but continue to exist during [***546] the recess? We conclude that the Clause applies to both kinds of vacancy.
The third question concerns calculation of the length of a “recess.” The President made the appointments here at issue on [**2557] January 4, 2012. At that time the Senate was in recess pursuant to a December [****12] 17, 2011, resolution providing for a series of brief recesses punctuated by “pro forma session[s],” with “no business . . . transacted,” every Tuesday and Friday through January 20, 2012. S. J., 112th Cong., 1st Sess., 923 (2011) (hereinafter 2011 S. J.). In calculating the length of a recess are we to ignore the pro forma sessions, thereby treating the series of brief recesses as a single, month-long recess? We conclude that we cannot ignore these pro forma sessions.
Our answer to the third question means that, when the appointments before us took place, the Senate was in the midst of a 3-day recess. Three days is too short a time to bring a recess within the scope of the Clause. Thus we conclude that the President lacked the power to make the recess appointments here at issue.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
573 U.S. 513 *; 134 S. Ct. 2550 **; 189 L. Ed. 2d 538 ***; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4500 ****; 82 U.S.L.W. 4599; 164 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P10,699; 199 L.R.R.M. 3685; 24 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 941; 2013 WL 5172004
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner v. NOEL CANNING, et al.
Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.
Prior History: [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT
Noel Canning v. NLRB, 705 F.3d 490, 403 U.S. App. D.C. 350, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1659 (2013)
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Constitutional Law, The Presidency, Appointment of Officials, Separation of Powers, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Congressional Duties & Powers, General Overview, Federal Government, Elections, US Congress