Judicial Watch Tackles Obama Czarism in SCOTUS Recess Appointment Case

Judicial Watch participated in a major victory for the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution – and Barack Obama received a humiliating setback in his ruthless, reckless efforts to “fundamentally transform” America by egregiously exceeding constitutional restraints on presidential power. The Supreme Court – in a stunning 9-0 vote – ruled that Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in bypassing the U.S. Senate to make a series of “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

In November 2012, JW and the Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) jointly filed an amici curiae brief in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning (No. 12-1281) strongly opposing Obama’s illegal actions. We argued in the amici brief:

The President’s alleged Recess appointments to the NLRB are unconstitutional for the primary reason that the Senate was in session at the time of the purported appointments… The President’s declaration that these sessions were invalid disregards the Senate’s authority to determine and administer its own procedures, including when it will recess and how it will conduct its business.

The Supreme Court unanimously agreed with the position JW and AEF took and, in a rare push-back to Obama’s outrageous rule by executive fiat, declared: “the separation of powers can serve to safeguard individual liberty.” I issued a statement to the press immediately following the historic ruling applauding the decision, but at the same time issuing a solemn warning:

We applaud the Supreme Court’s unanimous judgment that serves to remind this president that he is not king. President Obama, in his lawlessness, has been acting as the “catch me if you can president.” The Supreme Court, to its credit, finally caught and restrained Barack Obama’s lawlessness. Unfortunately, these recess appointments are one of many examples of this president acting outside of his constitutional authority.

On January 4, 2012, Obama recess-appointed three members to the NLRB despite the fact that the U.S. Senate was not in an official recess. Obama’s goal was clearly to pack the then under-staffed NLRB with leftists who shared his political agenda and give the board the quorum it previously lacked to conduct official business. He succeeded in his unilateral power grab to the extent that the NLRB, with its new liberal slant, ruled against a soft-drink bottling company, Noel Canning, saying it had engaged in an unfair labor practice by refusing to enter into a collective bargaining agreement.

Noel Canning fought back, taking its case to court. On July 17, 2013, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the NLRB lacked a quorum to decide the case because two of the three members on the board panel had received recess appointments in violation of the Constitution’s Recess Appointment Clause. At the time of the Canning decision, Obama’s press secretary arrogantly shrugged it off, declaring that it only applied to “one court, one case, one company.” Then, the Supreme Court accepted the government’s appeal. And now it applies to the entire country.

JW had been critical of Obama’s sleight-of-hand recess appointments from the get-go (as we have of the many unaccountable czars installed by the president). And on November 25, 2013, we officially registered our objections once again by jointly filing an amici curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court with our friends, the Allied Educational Fund (AEF).

Though previous presidents have made intrasession recess appointments “if they are of substantial length,” the Obama administration was the first to make such appointments during pro forma sessions of the Senate. As I said at the time we filed our amici brief, “Clearly these Obama’s recess appointments are unprecedented power grabs, which if left to stand will turn the constitutional separation of powers on its head.”

Fortunately, they were not left to stand. But, just think about what Obama’s illicit power grab has cost the American taxpayer in time and money. Not only has Obama administration dragged the case through the courts for the past two-and-one-half years, it has wreaked havoc on the NLRB. As the New York Times correctly pointed out:

The board issued 436 decisions during the 18 months when Mr. Obama’s improperly appointed employees worked there. Gregory J. King, a spokesman for the labor board, said there remained about 100 cases on hold in federal appeals courts awaiting a Supreme Court decision about the legitimacy of the recess appointees. In those cases, the appellants are challenging decisions from when the board had the contested appointees; they assert that the board did not have a legitimate quorum to issue those decisions. The great majority of those board decisions may be negated by Thursday’s ruling by the Supreme Court.

Though all nine justices ruled against the president’s power grab, including his own two appointees, the liberal majority did not sufficiently curtail the potential for abuse by presidents of these recess appointments.  Justice Scalia agreed with the outcome, but wrote for a minority of justices (and in support of Judicial Watch’s contentions) that the majority’s reasoning did not go far enough to protect the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers from being undermined by rogue presidents such as Obama. The full opinions are well worth reading if you value the vision of the Founding Fathers and how that vision has been both furthered and undermined by succeeding generations. 

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley recently said of Obama’s reckless unilateralism, “I think he has crossed the constitutional line.” Just as we did in the Noel Canning case, JW will continue to reinforce that line in a massive educational and legal effort to keep this imperial president accountable to you and the law.




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Chicago Sun-Times Columnist: SCOTUS Abortion Ruling Shows Women are ‘Second-Class Citizens’

Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, reliably left-wing columnist Neil Steinberg is disgusted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling against “buffer zones” at abortion clinics, saying that the unanimous decision proves women in the country are “second-class citizens.”

Last week the Court unanimously rejected a Massachusetts law that mandated a 35-foot no-go zone from the street to the entrance of an abortion clinic, a zone where anti-abortion activists were prevented from approaching women attempting to enter.

The anti-abortion activists maintained that preventing them from approaching women entering such clinics was an illegal limit of their First Amendment right to free speech. Every single justice agreed, including all the liberal ones.

But the Sun-Times’ Steinberg feels he knows better than the justices and decided that this re-affirmation of free speech is actually just another way to “deny women their rights.”

Steinberg chose some odd comparisons to illustrate his June 29 article, too. He said that America would be against the SCOTUS decision if “only women got divorced” and anti-divorce activists could confront women at a law office. He also wondered how long America would put up with free speech if people “led bands of believers to try to persuade people not to buy cars” in front of car dealerships.

But his biggest problem was that he thinks the decision is a strike against the “truth” that anti-abortion activists are just like those Westboro wackos who wave signs that read “God Hates Fags” at our veterans’ funerals. He also thinks that anti-abortion activists are “religious fanatics.”

Anti-abortion activists are a “threat,” Steinberg insisted, and the SCOTUS ruling doesn’t take that into account.

The implicit threat, conveyed by tone, volume, proximity and past attacks, carries a burden that the law doesn’t see. Like Westboro, they carefully choose a moment of vulnerability. We are so accustomed to these encounters, so inured with their talk of notional babies, we forget that, stripped of dogma, these are groups trying to press their religious beliefs upon the unwilling.

Claiming that “the powerful always see to themselves,” Steinberg went on to employ some rhetoric about women that old-fashioned feminists might not appreciate. At the end of his piece, he calls women “powerless,” for instance, “particularly young women.” 

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.




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Sandra Fluke on Hobby Lobby: ‘A Woman’s Boss Should Not Have a Say’

Sandra Fluke, whose campaign for free contraception elevated her to national prominence while she was still a law student at Georgetown University, denounced to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case: “A woman’s boss should not have a say in her health care decisions,” Fluke stated on Twitter.

Fluke seems to have misunderstood–or miconstrued–the case. Hobby Lobby sued precisely because it did not want to have a say in, or be forced to pay for, the private contraceptive decisions of its employees. The company, which is run according to the owners’ religious principles, objected to contraceptives that act as abortifacients.

Similarly, CNN’s asked Hobby Lobby’s attorney, Lori Windham, why she wanted to “bring the employer into what should be a very private decision-making process between a woman and her doctor.” Windham’s response: “Hobby Lobby would love to stay out of this, and leave this decision to a woman and her doctor.”

Fluke had earlier said a ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby would be “a potential catastrophe for women’s rights,” adding: “Corporations are not people. Corporations cannot have religious views.” Fluke recently placed second in the primary for California’s 26th State Senate district, and will face fellow Democrat Ben Allen in the fall.




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Defending the Indefensible: Honour Killings and the Limits of Free Speech

On Tuesday 24 June, the Sydney Opera House announced the cancellation of a talk entitled “Honour Killings Are Morally Justified”, scheduled to be delivered at the annual Festival of Dangerous Ideas by Uthman Badar, a Sydney-based spokesman for the Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir. The full statement read as follows:

The Festival of Dangerous Ideas is intended to be a provocation to thought and discussion, rather than simply a provocation. It is always a matter of balance and judgement, and in this case a line has been crossed. Accordingly, we have decided not to proceed with the scheduled session with Uthman Badar. It is clear from the public reaction that the title has given the wrong impression of what Mr Badar intended to discuss. Neither Mr Badar, the St James Ethics Centre, nor Sydney Opera House in any way advocates honour killings or condones any form of violence against women.

Simon Longstaff, the executive director of the St. James Ethics Centre, which is organising and curating the Festival, then posted the following statement on twitter:

It is unclear from Longstaff’s use of the passive voice whether he reluctantly assented to the talk’s cancellation or whether it was a decision imposed upon him by the venue. Either way, he was clearly unhappy. But, like the venue, he conceded the title had been “a mistake” unreflective of Badar’s arguments.

The difficulty with this is that by Badar’s own account (which I have yet to see disputed by anyone connected with the event), the title of the session was not his idea, but was suggested by the St James Ethics Centre. He then wrote the talk to order. So if the title really does not match the content, it is because Badar did not deliver on his brief, which was the unambiguous defence of a barbaric practice. In a facebook post, published after the furore erupted but before the event was cancelled, Badar protested that this was indeed the case:

As for the content of my presentation, I wont [sic] be revealing much before the event itself. Surprise, surprise. I will, however, say that the suggestion that I would advocate for honour killings, as understand [sic] in the west, is ludicrous and something I would normally not deem worth of [sic] dignifying with a response. Rather, this is about discussing the issue at a deeper level, confronting accepted perceptions, assumptions and presumptions and seeing things from a different perspective. Is that too much to ask of the liberal mind?

Had the talk’s title been framed as a question rather than an assertion, this would be an acceptable defence. But it wasn’t, so it’s simply an admission by Badar that he had failed to defend the pre-agreed proposition. That this failure is now being used to berate his critics is both an amusing irony and indicative of his lack of integrity.

Read the full article here.


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Why I Can’t Be Both an Economist and a Liberal

In today’s America, I can’t be both an economist and a liberal.

Economists should be bound by facts and reason. And I can’t do that and embrace liberal positions on the minimum wage, climate change, and gender discrimination.

Raising prices for most anything reduces purchases. Simply, if beef or a plumbers’ visit gets too high, folks eat more chicken and fix their own faucets.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as President Obama proposes, would eliminate 500,000 to 1,000,000 jobs. Businesses would be forced to raise prices, lose customers, and lay off employees. Fast food restaurants will use more machines similar to automated checkout devices at drug stores and supermarkets.

Past increases in the federal minimum wage did not have large impacts on employment, because those were in line with inflation, and businesses adopted strategies expecting such periodic adjustments. The minimum wage was last reset in 2009 and raising it one dollar to $8.25 to preserve purchasing power would not cost many jobs.

Jumping it to $10.10 an hour, however, would fundamentally redefine the tradeoffs businesses face regarding unskilled labor and automation. The workers left standing would have more spending power but overall, increasing unemployment by at least 500,000 would take a bite out of GDP and growth from an already anemic economic recovery

Economists, fancying themselves liberal and advocates of the working poor, deny the lessons of hundreds of years of economic theory and history. Most act out of expediency to win favor with the media and powerful politicians.

The erosion of the Antarctic ice shelf and glaciers elsewhere should confirm to even casual observers that global temperatures are rising. Scientists arguing CO2 emissions contribute are not quacks but their prescriptions, and those of the president, have a naïve quality bordering on willful and malicious ignorance.

The new abundance of natural gas and market forces are already rapidly driving down U.S. CO2 emissions from power plants and other industrial facilities. A forced acceleration imposed by the EPA would cost billions of dollars and make economic and environmental problems worse.

With an economy half the size of the United States, China emits almost twice as much CO2. Raising costs for U.S. manufactures through the president’s program will only send jobs to China where production is dirtier and increase global emissions.

Liberals argue by setting a good example the United States can bring China along.

Nonsense! American diplomats have not been able to get Beijing to respond on its undervalued currency or protectionism generally, abandon the use of force to settle territorial disputes in the China seas, or anything else the Chinese Communist Party sees as impairing economic growth or its quest to wrest leadership from the United States on global economic and security issues.

Universities are under constant pressure to ensure wider opportunities for women and as a matter of policy have programs to encourage enrollment, hiring,and promotion of women that discriminate against men.

All the data indicates that boys and young men are not doing as well in high school and are obtaining many fewer college degrees than women.

It seems to me that if American universities must discriminate against men to bring female faculty representation to parity with males—no matter their performance on the basis of objective criteria—it is only reasonable that universities be held accountable for not granting men as many degrees as women.

That has about as much chance of happening as I have to succeed Derek Jeter as shortstop for the New York Yankees. That would make about as much sense as liberal positions on the minimum wage, climate change, and gender discrimination at universities.

Peter Morici is an economist and business professor at the University of Maryland, national columnist and five-time winner of the MarketWatch best forecaster award. He tweets @pmorici1




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