2/13/14 Unchecked Executive Power
Last year, Behind the Headlines was alone in explaining the real reason behind the Senate’Â™s “Âœnuclear option.”
Senate Democrats ended more than 200 years of Senate rules and enacted the “nuclear option.” A bare majority of 51 votes would confirm most presidential nominations.
Constitutional framers envisioned a higher vote threshold — a super majority — for nominations to ensure bipartisanship. Agreement by both parties.
Most observers didn’Â™t understand that the nuclear option was about stacking one court Â€— the DC Circuit. This is the court that hears challenges to federal regulations. And executive orders.
Right after Senator Harry Reid put the nuclear option in place several ideologues were confirmed to the DC Circuit [here, here, here]. Their job is to rubber-stamp illegal and unconstitutional executive actions.
The Administration is now carrying-out its strategy. In 2011, the National Labor Relations Board implemented the “ambush election” rule regarding organizing unions in the work place. It was struck down by the DC Circuit.
With the court now staffed with ideologues, the NLRB is attempting to ram-through the exact same rule — hoping new judges will this time rubber-stamp the action.
It’s not a coincidence that last month, President Obama threatened to churn out executive orders in order to bypass Congress. He’s betting new judges on the DC Circuit will merely ignore the Constitution and green light his actions.