Barack Obama’s recess gamble goes bust – Josh Gerstein – POLITICO.com

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President Barack Obama’s big gamble on recess appointments was smacked down unanimously by the Supreme Court on Thursday, an embarrassing setback for the administration just as Republicans are turning up the heat on alleged overreaches by the chief executive.

The justices all agreed that Obama took executive power too far by naming three nominees to a key labor panel during a three-day Senate recess in 2012.

GOP lawmakers are already seizing on the decision as more proof of claims they make in a lawsuit House Speaker John Boehner just announced plans to file: that this is a president gone rogue.

So while the White House braces for a new legal showdown with Congress over policies ranging from health care to immigration, they’re heading in with one loss already under their belt and Republicans feeling emboldened.

“It represents a clear — clear rebuke to the president’s brazen power grab,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor. “It was a unanimous — unanimous — rebuke of the president of the United States. … The administration’s tendency to abide only by the laws it likes represents a disturbing and dangerous threat to the rule of law. That’s true whether we’re talking about recess appointments or Obamacare.”

Conservative legal experts said the ruling will bolster the Republican message.

“This will put wind in the sails of Boehner’s effort,” said the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Todd Gaziano. “The court didn’t say today, ‘Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.’ The court clearly said, ‘Meet the new boss, worse than the old boss.’ … No one has gone as far as this president since Nixon in trying to suspend laws he didn’t like.”

White House officials defended the recess appointments and many of Obama’s other actions as legitimate efforts to work around legislative gridlock caused by the Senate GOP.

“We’re of course deeply disappointed in today’s decision. … The president, though, remains committed to using every element of his executive authority to make progress on behalf of middle-class families,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “The president is in no way considering scaling back his efforts to make progress for the American people. … We would much prefer to work in bipartisan fashion with Congress to get that done. But if Congress refuses to act, the president will not hesitate to act on his own.”

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