Today's Supreme Court Case May Reverberate 'Centuries'

Justices consider Obama's recess appointments; weighty decisions loom this term
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2014 11:25 AM CST
Today's Supreme Court Case May Reverberate 'Centuries'
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about his Promise Zones Initiative, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The Supreme Court isn't taking on a lot of cases over the next 100 days—in fact, this March, it will review just half its usual caseload, the Washington Post reports. But the cases it is examining are big ones. Today, for instance, the court is considering just when a president has the right to make political appointments without Senate approval, UPI reports. The case follows President Obama's 2010 appointment of National Labor Relations Board employees when the Senate was holding only pro forma sessions; Obama argued that those sessions were akin to Senate recesses, when the president can make temporary appointments.

A lower court strictly limited such "recess appointments"; now the Supreme Court is considering the matter. "Rulings like this have implications that last for centuries," a lawyer tells the Hill; indeed, the court hasn't ruled on the matter in two centuries, the Post notes. With upcoming cases involving affirmative action, campaign finance rules, and ObamaCare and religion, "this is a court that’s not at all shy about tackling hot-button issues," notes another lawyer. One case it won't be hearing, however: an appeal by Arizona to bring back a law banning abortions after 20 weeks, CNN reports. That means the law can't be enforced. (More US Supreme Court stories.)

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