President Obama used his executive power during the winter 2012 congressional recess, to appoint three members to the National Labor Relations Board. In an expansive ruling that invalidates more than a century of presidential practice, a panel of Republican-appointed judges struck down a sitting President’s appointments. How did these right-wing judges get the authority to “usurp” Obama’s executive power?
U.S. Court of Appeals judges David Sentelle and Janice Rogers Brown signed off on the concurring opinion to stop the NLRB appointments sighting the Tenth Amendment invalidation. These “Tenthers” strongly believe that child labor laws, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, clean air laws and the federal highway system all violate the Constitution.
“Tenther” is a term derived from someone who uses the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution to justify a right-wing agenda. The Tenth Amendment provides “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Simply put, it takes away the constitutional powers afforded the Federal Government and gives them to the States, a kind of legalized secessionism. Haven’t we heard that term secession being used by states like Texas used to excess lately?
This ideological use of the Tenth Amendment is called “tentherism.” ThinkProgress defines “tentherism,” as a radical misreading of the Constitution which claims that pretty much everything the federal government does is unconstitutional. It gave these two constitutionally bound judges the authority that struck down the President’s appointments.
When President Obama used his executive powers to appoint new members to the National Labor Relations Board, the Republican-appointed judges who control this particular U.S. Court of Appeals, used the Constitution to halt the appointments. Judges David Sentelle and Janice Rogers have decided that appointing the members to the NLRB by executive order, violates the Tenth Amendment.
Tenther lawmakers — who include members of Congress, senators, governors and at least one sitting Supreme Court justice, are in agreement with Sentelle and Rogers’ opinions. These Tea Party have been hiding behind the Tenth Amendment that has enabled them to victimize the country.
The Tenther agenda is to reshape this founding document to destroy the very social structure of America. The Tenth Amendment is being used to undermine the very existence of important social programs including: Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid, children’s health insurance, and other health care programs, Federal civil rights laws, and Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections.
What happened to President Obama while trying to appoint new members to the National Labor Relations Board, is an example of judicial overreach. We have all felt the effects of the Tea Party’s wrath when they shut our government down less than one month ago. This “Tenther movement” is attacking the very document that has served our country so well.
Richard Andrew is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.