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Senate GOP Continues Legal Battle Against Disputed Recess Appointments

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The entire Senate Republican Conference on Monday filed a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court, continuing its effort to oppose President Barack Obama’s disputed use of the recess appointment power.

Several federal appeals courts have ruled against the constitutionality of the appointments, which included slots on the National Labor Relations Board, as well as the initial move to put Richard Cordray in charge of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Resolving the fate of the individuals in question was among the key features of a July deal that (only temporarily, as it turned out) prevented the use of the “nuclear option” to effectively change the Senate’s rules to eliminate the ability of the GOP minority to block nominees.

Cordray was eventually confirmed to the CFPB position, but Obama agreed to replace the questionable NLRB nominees.

“Last year, the President made an unprecedented power grab by placing political allies at a powerful federal agency while the Senate was meeting regularly and without even trying to obtain its advice and consent,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement announcing the amicus brief.

The brief, which is available here, makes many of the same arguments made by Senate Republicans at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

As he has previously, Miguel Estrada is serving as the lawyer for the Senate GOP in this matter. The former assistant to the solicitor general was himself denied confirmation to the D.C. appeals court during the George W. Bush administration, a point that Republicans highlighted repeatedly during the recent battles over filling three vacant seats on that court, which resulted in Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., using the nuclear option.

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