By Adam Freedman– In January, a unanimous Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit held that the president violated the Constitution by making “recess appointments” when the Senate was not, in fact, in recess.
If you think this is just another one of those dry, lawyerly technicalities, think again. One of the Constitution’s essential checks and balances is the requirement of Senate “advice and consent” for presidential appointments. The Recess Appointments Clause of Article II provides a narrow exception to that requirement: the president can fill executive branch vacancies that occur between Congress’s official sessions.
Last year, President Obama became the first president to make “recess appointments” while the Senate was still in session when he appointed three members of the National Labor Relations Board.
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