It must be a tough pill to swallow when a judge you appoint slaps you down in court, but that is what happened to President Obama:
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked an Obama administration rule to extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million salaried workers from taking effect, imperiling one of the outgoing president’s signature achievements for boosting wages.
U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant, in Sherman, Texas, agreed with 21 states and a coalition of business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that the rule is unlawful and granted their motion for a nationwide injunction.
The rule, issued by the Labor Department, was to take effect Dec. 1 and would have doubled to $47,500 the maximum salary a worker can earn and still be eligible for mandatory overtime pay. The new threshold would have been the first significant change in four decades.
This was another instance in which President Obama behaved as though Congress doesn’t exist and they can make such changes on their own.
On Tuesday, Mazzant, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, ruled that the federal law governing overtime does not allow the Labor Department to decide which workers are eligible based on salary levels alone.
The Fair Labor Standards Act says that employees can be exempt from overtime if they perform executive, administrative or professional duties, but the rule “creates essentially a de facto salary-only test,” Mazzant wrote in the 20-page ruling.
The Labor Department can appeal the case if they’d like but if so, it would go to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and they have no been friendly to Obama’s executive overreach. The same circuit told the President to take a hike with his executive orders on immigration.
Under President Trump, the Labor Department can drop their appeal. That is the likely outcome given Trump’s opposition to this rule.