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US Supreme Court curbs power of president to temporarily fill senior govt posts

Published on Jun 27, 2014 12:31 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against President Barack Obama by cutting back the power of the White House to temporarily fill senior government posts when facing partisan opposition in Congress, although it stopped short of a more sweeping decision against executive authority.

In a ruling that will constrain future presidents, the court held on a 9-0 vote that the three appointments Mr Obama made to the US National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) in 2012 were unlawful. The decision limits the ability of presidents to make so-called recess appointments without Senate approval.

Although the court was unanimous on the outcome, the nine justices were divided 5-4 on the legal reasoning. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a fiery opinion, joined by his conservative colleagues, saying he would have gone further in limiting the recess appointment power. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court's regular swing vote, joined liberal colleagues in the majority.

The ruling comes at a time of partisan political fighting in Congress between Republicans and Mr Obama. Republicans have fought virtually every major Obama initiative since he took office in 2009 and they have accused the Democratic president of overstepping his constitutional authority.

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