The U.S. Supreme court released opinions on two key cases Thursday. The first-- on the President's power to make recess appointments.
FOX News Radio's Jared Halpern has details on the opinion from Washington:
This has been a long awaited decision from the Supreme Court. This case, first argued back in January and it concludes with unanimous decision, authored in large measure by Justice Breyer who writes 'Given our answers to the last question before us, we conclude that the recess appointments clause of the Constitution does not give the President the constitutional authority to make the appointments here at issue.'
The appointments here at issue were several recess appointments the President made to the National Labor Relations Board -- a federal agency here that gets involved with disputes between companies and labor unions often times and the President had a hard time getting many of his appointees confirmed by the Senate. He waited until the Senate went into what were essentially pro forma sessions, where they go on recess, they're not here in Washington, they're certainly not conducting business, but they haven't formally recessed. The administration said that break was enough for the President to make these appointments.
It was actually challenged by a company who had lost an NLRB decision, in large measure because of these people on the NLRB. That company sued -- it's gone through the courts, ending here at the Supreme Court with the ruling basically coming down that the President in this particular case, should not have made these recess appointments. Essentially saying the Senate decides when the Senate is in recess, the President does not get to make that decision. It does little to really tamp down the recess appointments clause, however for the President and that power still rests with the President and this opinion makes a good deal of mentioning.
We should also point out that this opinion comes down still amid some discussion among the Justices and some dispute among the Justices about exactly why this recess appointment does not rest with the President. A concurring opinion offered by Justice Scalia would aim to tamp down a bit more the recess appointment power of the President. Ultimately though, that is not the decision from this court who says, in this case, the NLRB appointments were not within the context of this clause.
Still, these appointees, these people who were appointed during recess later on were actually fully confirmed by the Senate, so it seems unlikely that this has any sort of change practically speaking, but certainly this lets the President know, moving forward, how the recess appointment clause can be used.
The other opinion deals with free speech. The High Court ruling against abortion clinic buffer zones.
FOX News Radio's Jared Halpern has details on that opinion from Washington:
That Massachusetts law created a 35-foot buffer zone where protesters could not engage with anybody walking into a healthcare clinic that provides abortions. A law that the state argued at the Supreme Court was for public safety and to keep women from feeling intimidated. That however, a Supreme Court opinion, authored by the Chief Justice and joined by every other Justice is a violation of the First Amendment.
Chief Justice John Roberts saying that that 35 feet often includes public space not linked or connected at all to those healthcare clinics and in many cases these so-called protesters were simply sidewalk counselors, who would ask women if they could hand them out literature without giving any sort of intimidation.
This ruling, again, striking down a 35-foot buffer that was created in Massachusetts around abortion clinics. The Supreme Court saying that that's a violation of the First Amendment.
Follow Jared on Twitter: @Jared Halpern