There were several significant court decisions announced this week that address issues important to Utahns and citizens across the nation.
Supreme Court Decision on Recess Appointments
The U. S. Supreme Court unanimously decided on Thursday in National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) v. Noel Canning that President Obama’s January 2013 appointments to the NLRB were unconstitutional. This decision demonstrates how the President’s actions contradicted both constitutional text and longstanding precedents that enshrine the Senate’s legitimate role in federal appointments. The Court has reaffirmed the Senate’s vital advice-and-consent role as a check on executive abuses.
I applaud the Court’s willingness to stand up to President Obama’s flagrantly unconstitutional power grab. This decision strengthens my determination to stand up for the separation of powers against the President’s disturbing pattern of lawlessness.
Earlier this year I joined 41 of my Senate colleagues in filing an amicus brief in this case that argues these appointments were unconstitutional. To read the brief, click here. I also spearheaded a letter in December 2012 signed by every Senate Republican, which called on President Obama not to appoint nominees to NLRB without Senate approval. To read that letter, click here.
Supreme Court Decision on EPA Overreach
In Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Supreme Court ruled that the Obama administration acted unlawfully in its attempt to regulate greenhouse gasses without congressional approval.
Congress had already decisively rejected President Obama’s cap-and-trade plan and its massive energy taxes on American families. Instead of listening to the concerns of the American people and their elected representatives, the President and his EPA clearly misconstrued the Clean Air Act to give the administration regulatory authority that Congress clearly prohibited. By rejecting this blatant power grab, the Court reaffirmed the longstanding principle that the Constitution gives Congress alone the power to make the law, which the executive branch cannot override or disregard.
I applaud the Court’s willingness to stand up once again to President Obama’s brazen overreach. As with the above decision in NLRB v. Canning, this decision should be a wakeup call to everyone in Congress – Republican and Democrat – to stand up for the constitutional checks and balances against the President’s alarming pattern of lawlessness.
Appeals Court Decision on Utah’s Same-Sex Marriage Law
Finally, the 10 th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that Utah’s same-sex marriage law is unconstitutional. Although I oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation, I have always believed that marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman. In my view, the U. S. Constitution does not dictate a particular definition of marriage, so I believe such judgments are properly left to the citizens of each state. Although I am not surprised by today’s decision, I disagree with the court’s reasoning and hope the Supreme Court ultimately adheres to the original understanding of the Constitution and allows each State to define marriage for itself.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on these important decisions. I hope it has been helpful and interesting, and as always, please feel free to share any comments and concerns you may have by contacting me through my website ( www.hatch.senate.gov) or by clicking here.