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A former Maryland labor secretary is set to head the U.S. Labor Department. The Senate confirmed Thomas Perez's nomination yesterday in a party-line vote. Meanwhile, a federal appeals court in Virginia has become the third court to rule recess appointments that Obama made in 2012 unconstitutional. David Hawkings, writer of the Hawkings Here column for Roll Call, has some of the details.
On what it took to get Thomas Perez's nomination through:
"It essentially took a packaged deal. Perez was the second most objectionable on the list of seven nominees that were on the heart of this nuclear options dispute. It was a party-line vote in the end. No Republican voted for his confirmation. It's the first time there's been a party-line vote for a cabinet secretary in decades. Even some of George Bush's nominees got a few Democratic votes back in the last administration. Republicans view Perez as overly partisan, anti-religious, overly responsive to Congress. They don't really like the guy."
On what Perez will bring to the position now that he's confirmed:
"I think he will be an unabashed advocate for the pro-union, pro-liberal side of the labor management debate. He is unambiguously in favor of the living wage... most of his experience is in civil rights, so he will presumably be bringing that sensibility to the Labor Department."
On a Virginia federal appeals court ruling that some of Obama's appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional:
"It's going to be fascinating to see what happens because that court is the third court to say that that's unconstitutional... that the president overused his recess appointment power. The dispute is supposed to go to the Supreme Court. Now that it's been diffused so much, because as a part of this nuclear options bill... a couple of those NLRB recess appointments were dropped in favor of new appointees who will now be confirmed, so it's really unclear if the Supreme Court has a ripe case to decide."