Resolved: President Obama’s Recent Purported “Recess” Appointments Were Unconstitutional

Sponsored by the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies and the Federalist Society’s Practice Groups
Start : Friday, January 10, 2014 12:00 PM
End : Friday, January 10, 2014 01:30 PM

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On Monday, January 13, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in an important separation-of-powers case concerning the president’s recess appointments power. Under the Constitution the president may “fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate” without going through the normal requirements of obtaining the “advice and consent” of the Senate. On January 4, 2012, when the Senate was arguably not in recess, President Obama appointed three members to fill vacant seats on the National Labor Relations Board. Noel Canning, a business adversely affected by a subsequent NLRB decision, then challenged the constitutionality of the appointments in the D.C. Circuit. The three-judge panel found that the president had exceeded his authority, as have two other appellate courts since then in separate suits. Please join us for what should be a spirited debate about the meaning and history of the recess appointments power.


  • Prof. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Georgetown University Law Center, and Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute
  • Prof. Victor Williams, Catholic University School of Law
  • Moderator: Dr. Roger Pilon, Director, Center for Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute.
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