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U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUS to consider when the president may make recess appointments

Posted Jun 24, 2013 9:01 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider the constitutionality of President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

The court granted cert on Monday, report the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press. Obama claimed the power to make the appointments under the Constitution's recess appointments clause, which gives the president power to fill “vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the appointments in January, citing two reasons. First, the appointments were made during a holiday break in Senate business, rather than a formal recess. Second, the appeals court said, the clause only permits recess appointments when they "happen" during the intersession recess, not when they happen to exist during the recess.

U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli has said the appeals court ruling will dramatically limit the president’s power to make emergency appointments.

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