Carrie Severino, chief counsel to the Judicial Crisis Network on Recess Appointment decision: “Today the Supreme Court unanimously rebuked the Obama Administration for its lawlessness. Although Noel Canning won the court case, the real victory goes to the Constitution’s separation of powers. The recess appointments clause was never intended to give the President the ability to make appointments while the Senate was on a lunch break. By striking down these appointments, the Supreme Court delivered a much-needed bench-slap to the Obama Administration’s contempt for the Constitution. Although the Court was unanimous in striking down these lawless appointments, five justices still voted for a broad and troubling interpretation of the Recess Appointments power. The next president may appoint as many as three Supreme Court justices, so the American people should be thinking carefully about whether the next president will appoint judges who are committed to shoring up our constitutional checks and balances.”
Severino, on the abortion clinic buffer zone decision: “The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision today in McCullen v. Coakley demonstrates once again that the First Amendment protects pro-life activists just as much as it does for anyone else. The court’s decision strikes a blow against the pro-abortion crowd’s scorched-earth mentality toward the First Amendment rights of those who disagree with them. But the majority got one issue badly wrong today: Massachusetts’ law targeting pro-life sidewalk counselors was clearly targeted at pro-life counselors like the elderly and softspoken Eleanor McCullen. Five of the nine justices couldn’t see that. The next president may appoint as many as three justices, so Americans should be carefully considering whether he will appoint justices that would give special speech rights to abortionists or seek to faithfully apply the Constitution to all Americans.”
Hans von Spakovsky, Former Federal Election Commissioner and Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Justicem on the abortion clinic buffer zone decision: “All nine justices of the Supreme Court acted decisively to protect the First Amendment rights of Americans in McCullen v. Coakley when they struck down a Massachusetts law clearly intended to prevent pro-life activists from speaking or providing counseling. Making it a crime to stand on a ‘public way or sidewalk’ within 35 feet of the entrance or driveway of an abortion clinic was a shameful attempt by the state legislature to criminalize speech they disagree with. Fortunately, the Supreme Court recognized that Massachusetts was trying to restrict free speech in traditional public areas “that have historically been open to the public for speech activities. While a majority of state legislators in Massachusetts may favor abortion, they should realize that they have no right to restrict the speech of those who disagree with them – this is America, not Soviet Russia.”
O. Carter Snead, professor of law, University of Notre Dame, on the abortion clinic buffer zone decision: “Today the Supreme Court struck an important blow for the freedom (secured by the First Amendment) to convey peacefully the core message of the pro life movement to women considering abortion, namely, ‘We love you, we love your unborn child, and we’re here to help.’ The Court’s decision confirms that laws (such as those in Massachusetts) that impose draconian restraints on this type of interaction on public streets and sidewalks are unconstitutional and cannot stand. McCullen v. Coakley is a unanimous rebuke to state legislatures around the country who might be considering such misguided and unconstitutional laws.”
Karen Harned, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center on Recess Appointment decision: “This case was never just about recess appointments. Ultimately, the case was about affirming the bedrock principle that this is a nation of limited government, where no one man can wield too great a power over our lives and livelihoods. When President Obama appointed three members to the NLRB he blatantly circumvented the Congressional appointment process and overstepped his constitutional authority. The President and NLRB’s actions have caused employers and employees uncertainty and unpredictability. These illegal appointments have played key roles in several of NLRB’s highly controversial policy decisions, such as the ‘ambush election rule’ and the ‘Notice Poster Rule.’”
Statement from Neomi Rao Constitutional Law Professor at George Mason University School of Law:
In Noel Canning, the Supreme Court unanimously invalidated President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. While the result was unanimous, Justice Breyer’s opinion for the majority and Justice Scalia’s opinion concurring in the judgment could not be more different. They disagreed about the meaning of the Recess Appointment Clause; they disagreed about the meaning of historical practice of recess appointments between the President and the Senate; they disagreed about the purpose of the Clause in the separation of powers; and perhaps most fundamentally, they disagreed about the role of the Supreme Court in resolving separation of powers disputes. While Justice Scalia has the better constitutional arguments; the practical concerns raised in both opinions suggest the difficulty of the Supreme Court’s resolution of this issue some 200 years after the Founding.