The Supreme Court this week curtailed the appointment power of presidents by ruling that no one can be named as an acting head of a federal agency if that person has been nominated for the full position and that position requires Senate approval.
The ruling springs from an action by then-President Barack Obama, who in 2011 named Lafe Solomon as acting general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), while he also nominated him for the full post, which required Senate confirmation.
The ruling, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, is based on the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998. The vote was 6-2, with a dissent by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who argued that since that law was enacted, more than 100 persons have filled acting agency roles while awaiting confirmation for permanent jobs.
The case was National Labor Relations Board v. SW General Inc.