President Barack Obama did not have the power to fill three vacancies on a labor relations panel last year while the Senate was away for the holidays, a federal appeals court panel ruled Friday. The president is expected to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Associated Press reports
The decision by the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit could invalidate hundreds of decisions made over the last year by the National Labor Relations Board, a body that Republicans and business groups have attacked for being biased in favor of unions. It would also leave the five-member board with just one validly appointed member when it can only operate if it has three members, the AP wrote.
Obama made the appointments while the Senate was on a 20 day recess after Senate Republicans spent months blocking his choices. But the three-judge panel ruled that the Senate was technically still in session because it was gaveled in and out every few days for what are called "pro forma" sessions. This is a technique used to prevent presidents from using their recess power, the AP reports.
The ruling also calls into question Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has been challenged in a separate case.
Via the Associated Press