Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our live blog, sponsored by Bloomberg Law!
We are expecting opinions in argued cases at 10 am; we do not expect the Court to issue orders this morning.
There are four cases that have not yet been decided. From January, we have three cases: NLRB v. Noel Canning (the challenge to the president's recess appointments to the NLRB), McCullen v. Coakley (challenge to a Massachusetts law that imposes a thirty-five-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics), and Harris v. Quinn (public employee unions).
From March, we have two cases, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, the challenge to the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate. The two cases were argued together, so we expect just one opinion.
We believe that this is NOT the last day for opinions. This is because the Chief Justice always announces, on the day before the last day, what the last day will be. And he did not do that yesterday. So we believe that the last day will probably be Monday, because the Court is scheduled to sit anyway.
Good morning from the Court's press room.
The rest of us are in an insecure undisclosed location.
Thanks everyone for being here. Yesterday we had roughly 100,000 unique visitors (ie, different people), 200,000 unique visits (ie, times they came to the blog), and 350,000 page views (ie, things they looked at). The liveblog keeps our page views way down b/c you don't have to keep hitting refresh.
I apologize that we aren't able to answer all of your questions. There are a lot of them.
Here we go. Going into Waiting-for-Lyle mood.
7330 on the LB right now.
Here's Lyle with the first opinion. Recess appointments.
Justice Breyer is writing for the Court.
The opinion of the Court affirms the D.C. Circuit.
The Recess appointments clause empowers the president to fill any existing vacancy during any recess (intra-session or inter-session) of sufficient length.
This is a narrow ruling. It gives the President substantial recess appointment power. It says the only problem with the appointments was that the President had to respect the Senate's pro forma recesses.
The opinion goes on to say that the clause does not say how long the recess must be to fall within the clause, but even the Solicitor General concedes that a 3-day recess would be too short.
The court says that a recess of more than three days but less than ten days is presumptively too short to fall within the clause.
The Court specifically holds that the President can fill any existing vacancy during any intra or inter-session recess.
These recess appointments apparently were not valid because they were made during a three-day recess.
The court also holds that the recess does not have to occur during the recess.
The decision appears to be unanimous on the judgment, but Scalia files an opinion concurring in the judgment, joined by Roberts, Thomas, and Alito.
This likely means that the unions are going to lose the Harris v. Quinn public employee union case.
There were two boxes of opinions today, so we expect more.