The end of June is an important time on the political calendar, but it is one which most Americans don't really think about all that much. It's hard to fault this, so let's take a quick run through the important decisions handed down in the past week.
The Supreme Court's Noel Canning decision upholds the D.C. Circuit's outcome, but repudiates its reasoning and leaves the elected branches with pretty much the same tools already available to them to foster either friction or cooperation. All in all, it's a pretty good day for constitutionalism.
The most recent slow peddling of President Obama's NLRB nominees by Senate Republicans through the filibuster is only the latest chapter in this war story. Real disarmament can only take place when the political nature of the Board is reformed.
Republicans have abused the filibuster process at a record rate. They've manipulated Senate recess to unprecedented levels. They've delayed and appealed decisions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can hobble this right-wing campaign against working people by deploying the nuclear option.
What is striking about the DC Circuit opinion is not its bottom line, but the scope of its reasoning. Despite a pretense of constitutional modesty, the court decided the Recess Appointments issue on the broadest possible ground.
Congress can work mischief of its own. The Senate can hold up patently qualified nominees interminably. Or a majority of the House of Representatives may disable the Senate from going into "the recess" for no reason other than to preserve the filibustering prerogatives of a Senate minority.
Of course, the Senate is not intended to be a rubber stamp. But stalling nomination votes simply to keep laws from being enforced -- effectively repealing the laws that cannot be enforced without the nominees in place -- is utterly inconsistent with the Senate's proper confirmation role.