A few weeks ago the Supreme court unanimously ruled that Obama had exceeded his constitutional authority by making “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board. Recess appointments are specifically authorized by the constitution, and Obama used them because Republicans have been failing to approve many of his appointments to critical government jobs. But the Supremes ruled that a break has to be at least ten days long in order to allow for a recess appointment.
Republicans immediately tried to use this case to prove that Obama is acting like an imperial ruler. Indeed, about the same time House Speaker John Boehner announced that they are going to sue Obama for executive overreach. And other Republicans and conservatives immediately jumped on the bandwagon.
For example, on June 26, a press release from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stated that the Supreme Court had stuck down Obama’s executive overreach for the 12th time.
Conservative National Review Online picked up that story and upped the ante with the headline “Supreme Court Rules Unanimously Against Obama for 12th and 13th Time Since 2012“.
And on June 29 Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the chairman of the House judiciary committee (who should know better) went on Fox News to claim that the Supreme Court had ruled 13 times that Obama exceeded his constitutional authority.
PolitiFact asked for a list of the 13 cases, and reviewed them. The problem is that in eight of the 13 cases, the overreach in question happened during the Bush administration. That means that only five of the 13 cases in question could possibly be construed as Obama exceeding his executive authority.
According to Supreme Court and legal experts consulted by PolitiFact, many of the remaining cases didn’t even involve executive overreach. For example, the 13th case – added by NRO and Goodlatte – was about a state law, and had nothing to do with the federal government (let alone Obama). In fact, of all the cases, pretty much the only one that involved Obama exceeding his executive authority was the one about the NLRB.
PolitiFact concludes “A thorough review of the 13 cases found many instances where presidential authority was not at issue. Further, most of the cases originated under and were first litigated by the Bush administration.” They rated the Republican statements “False”.
But what I want to know is where were these people when Dubya exceeded his executive authority eight times? Why didn’t anyone object then?