The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled Friday that the three recess appointments President Obama made to the National Labor Relations Board on Jan. 4, 2012, were unconstitutional.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the appeals court ruling also "casts serious doubt" on the constitutionality of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray's recess appointment that was made the same day and is the subject of a separate lawsuit in D.C. federal court.
When Obama made both the NLRB and Cordray appointments, the Senate was on a 20-day recess but holding pro forma sessions every three days to block presidential action.
The White House criticized the appeals court ruling. “The decision is novel and unprecedented, and it contradicts 150 years of practice by Democratic and Republican administrations,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “We respectfully but strongly disagree with the ruling.”
The decision noted that another federal appeals court has read the Constitution differently, which makes it likely the Supreme Court will have to settle the issue.
Cordray's recess appoint expires at the end of this year, and Obama said Thursday that he would re-nominate him. Several GOP senators said they would oppose the re-nomination, and they reiterated their demands for structural changes in the CFPB.
Read the Distric of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision.