A Supreme Court ruling Thursday came as a rebuff to President Barack Obama’s attempted recess period appointments. He sought to pass appointments without Senate confirmation, an issue taken to the Supreme Court where he subsequently lost. The ruling served as both a check on executive power and a failed dodge of congressional gridlock, but those within the Obama administration have pointed out that the ruling could have been far more restrictive on executive power than the Justices chose to be. In that sense, much as April appointments ultimately proved to be act as predictive for the conditions in Washington at present, the Supreme Court ruling has its own implications.
For example, it reflects slightly on House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) plans to sue Obama over the president’s recent slew of executive orders. Boehner claims they are an overstep on his power, and that “The constitution makes it clear that a president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws. In my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws” — according to USA TODAY. Some, including Obama, believe the suit is political maneuvering with very little weight behind it.
Depending on how you look at it, the Supreme Court’s ruling may either be a sign that the court is moderate on reigning in presidential power, as the ruling could have been much more restrictive than it ultimately was, or a sign that the courts are open to constraining some of the powers in favor of what some argue is a better balance. Of course, the suit would likely not make it all the way up the chain of courts for some years, but Boehner says his concerns over the balance of power will remain. “This is about defending the institution,” he told The Washington Post.
In April Obama faced a great deal of opposition in trying to push his nominees through Congress in what was eventually a bipartisan struggle, with Democrats and Republicans both objecting to some of his candidate choices. At the time it was considered a possible sign of difficulty to come, that he could be looking at two more years of blocked or delayed nominations and a general atmosphere of non-cooperation and efficiency. This has proven to be true, at least in the months that have passed so far.