Corporate Accountability

5-4 Split Upholds Broad Recess Appointments Power

Washington, DC – On news this morning that the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, Constitutional Accountability Center released the following reaction:


“While the Supreme Court voted unanimously to strike down the particular exercise of the Recess Appointments Clause power in the Noel Canning case,” said CAC Chief Counsel Elizabeth Wydra, “more important, the Court – by a sharply divided 5-4 vote – rejected the sweeping arguments made by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its allies.”


“Similar to the dynamic seen in the Court’s 2008 ruling in Heller v. District of Columbia,” continued CAC Appellate Counsel Brianne Gorod, “the bulk of today’s opinion was an originalist battle over the Constitution’s text and history, except that the liberal Justices prevailed on the two most sweeping claims made in the case. While the Court’s unanimous ruling upholding the use by Congress of certain pro forma sessions to prevent recesses from occurring will surely contribute to the gridlock we are seeing in Washington, the 5-4 portions of the Canning ruling preserve the core of this important constitutional provision.”






CAC’s “friend of the court” brief in NLRB v. Noel Canning:


“Role Reversals Emerge in Fight Against Recess Appointments,” Carl Hulse, New York Times, January 11, 2014:


“Big Battles Brewing Over the Constitution’s Original Meaning,” Doug Kendall and Tom Donnelly, October 2, 2013:


CAC’s Brianne Gorod will also be participating in SCOTUSBlog’s symposium on Noel Canning, contributing a piece analyzing the ruling.




Constitutional Accountability Center ( is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history.



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