Is Obama Diminishing the Presidency?

In today’s Wall Street Journal, I try to explain what President Obama’s stunning defeat at the hands of the D.C. Circuit over his recess appointments to the NLRB and the new Consumer Finance Protection Board means for the institution of the Presidency:

A year ago this month, President Obama bypassed the Senate’s advice-and-consent power by naming three new members to the National Labor Relations Board and appointing Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mr. Obama declared that these were “recess” appointments even though the Senate—by its own definition—remained in session.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday unanimously struck down these unilateral appointments, but the three-judge panel’s decision in Noel Canning v. NLRB did more than knock a few people out of work and effectively nullify a year’s worth of rules that eased union organizing and regulated mortgages and credit cards.

Judge David Sentelle, given an opening by the unprecedented White House power grab, issued a ruling that has profound ramifications for the office of the presidency. He and judge Karen Henderson rejected the very idea of “intra-session recess appointments.” Mr. Obama thus has jeopardized a vital executive power for all future presidents.

To read more, you need a WSJ subscription. But even without reading the rest, do you agree that Mr. Obama, by using the President’s powers for short-term political gain, and not to address national security or emergencies, is actually diminishing the office?