Has Obama abused executive power? His 5 most controversial uses.

Faced with a balky Congress that is unwilling to move his agenda or compromise on most matters, President Obama says he has no choice but to use executive power. House Speaker John Boehner plans to sue. Here are our picks for Mr. Obama’s most controversial uses of executive power:

5. Recess appointments

Jacquelyn Martin/AP/File
President Obama speaks at the League of Conservation Voters Capitol Dinner at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington on June 25, 2014. The next day, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the president had overstepped his bounds in making recess appointments without congressional aplimiting his power to make recess appointments without congressional approval.

In 2012, Obama made three “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was technically still in session. Normally, such nominees would need to be confirmed by the Senate. When the Senate is truly in recess, the president is allowed to make temporary appointments to fill positions that would require Senate confirmation.

The Obama administration argued that Republican senators were using a “gimmick called “pro forma sessions” – quick sessions lasting just a few moments in which no Senate business is conducted – to prevent the president from making recess appointments.

In June 2014, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the president had overstepped his bounds, and that only the Senate can determine when it is in session. In a second, landmark decision in the case, the justices ruled 5-4 that the president had broad power to make recess appointments. But it was not as broad as Obama had wanted.

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