Caldwell

Patrick Caldwell

Reporter

Patrick Caldwell is a reporter in Mother Jones’ DC bureau. Previously, he covered domestic politics for The American Prospect and elections for The American Independent. His work has also appeared in The NationThe New Republic, and The Washington Independent. E-mail any and all tips to pcaldwell [at] motherjones [dot] com. Follow his tweets at @patcaldwell.

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Patrick Caldwell is a reporter in Mother Jones’ DC bureau. Previously, he covered all things domestic politics for The American Prospect and elections for The American Independent. His work has also appeared in The NationThe New Republic, and The Washington Independent. E-mail any and all tips to pcaldwell [at] motherjones [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter at @patcaldwell.

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The Supreme Court Could Halt the Recess Appointments That Got Scalia's Son His Job

| Mon Jan. 13, 2014 12:15 PM EST

The Supreme Court will hear a case on Monday that could upend longstanding precedent on presidential powers. President Barack Obama and his successors will have a tougher time staffing the White House if the court sides with a 2013 decision from the DC Circuit Court on Noel Canning v. National Labor Relations Board.

The case revolves around three Obama recess appointees to the labor board in January 2012. At the time, Senate Republicans were hindering Obama's nominees at every turn, not because they had any particular objection to the specific appointee, but because they wanted to block the agency in question. So, while Congress went home for its winter break, Obama used his recess appointment power to put three new members on the labor board.

The tricky question is whether the Senate was actually in recess when Obama made that announcement. For all standard purposes, Congress was on vacation. But House Republicans used an obscure constitutional clause to force the Senate to hold pro-forma sessions throughout their January recess.

Mon Apr. 28, 2014 12:48 PM EDT
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Wed Jan. 29, 2014 4:37 PM EST