What gall. A Saturday New York Times editorial actually managed to blamed the Republican Party for forcing Obama to violate the constitution: "A Court Upholds Republican Chicanery."
For most of President Obama’s first term, Republicans used legislative trickery to try to prevent the functioning of two federal agencies they hate, the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. First they would filibuster the president’s nominees to the agencies, knowing that neither agency could operate without board members or a director. Then they would create fake legislative sessions for the Senate during its recess, intended solely to prevent Mr. Obama from making recess appointments as an end run.
Astonishingly, a federal appeals court upheld this strategy on Friday. Mr. Obama had declared that Congress was not really open for business during its one-minute, lights-on-lights-off sessions intended only to thwart him, and he made recess appointments. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said his N.L.R.B. appointments were unconstitutional, buying the argument of Republicans that the Senate was really in session.
The court’s opinion took no notice of the underhanded nature of these actions: Senate Republicans asked the House to remain in session solely to prevent Mr. Obama’s recess appointments, and the Constitution prevents the Senate from adjourning without the consent of the House, even if it meets only for a minute every three days. Using a cramped definition of “recess,” the panel’s Republican-appointed judges allowed a minority to abuse the recess-appointments clause of the Constitution for political ends.
Democrats could have changed this by agreeing to curb filibuster abuses this week, particularly on high-level presidential appointments, but they squandered the opportunity. The court’s decision demonstrates how their timidity is being used against them. With no sign that Republicans are willing to let up on their machinations, Mr. Obama was entirely justified in using his executive power to keep federal agencies operating.
The Wall Street Journal showed more concern for the rule of law.
President Obama has shown increasing contempt for the constitutional limits on his power, and the courts are finally awakening to the news. A unanimous panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the President's non-recess recess appointments are illegal and an abuse of executive power.....Mr. Obama has also signaled his intention to govern as much as possible by stretching the legal bounds of regulation and executive orders. The D.C. Circuit ruling is thus a particularly timely warning that while Mr. Obama was re-elected, has most of the press in his pocket and is popular with 52% of the public, he's subject to the rule of law like everybody else.