Recess Appointments and Precautionary Constitutionalism
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CitationAdrian Vermeule, Recess Appointments and Precautionary Constitutionalism, 126 Harv. L. Rev. F. 122 (Feb. 2013).
AbstractIn Noel Canning v. NLRB, 705 F.3d 490 (D.C. Cir. 2013), the D.C. Circuit held (inter alia) that the President’s constitutional power to make recess appointments does not include recesses during a session of the Senate (“intrasession recesses”), as opposed to recesses between sessions (“intersession recesses”). Many commentators have taken Canning to be principally a textualist and originalist decision. I argue, to the contrary, that Canning’s textualism and originalism are derivative strategies by which the court attempted to fashion a precautionary rule against presidential aggrandizement. As such Canning is best understood to exemplify a mode of constitutional adjudication that we might call precautionary constitutionalism. As a normative matter, Canning illustrates the major problem of precautionary constitutionalism: myopic focus on a target risk may cause the rulemaker to ignore or underestimate countervailing risks, resulting in unintended, counterproductive or perverse consequences.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13614560
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