Obama to appeal court ruling on his unconstitutional recess appointments

The Obama administration has decided that it will appeal to the Supreme Court a sweeping ruling by an appeals court in January that President Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate in making three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board last year.

While the dispute grew out of a narrow and novel legal question — whether brief “pro forma” sessions by the Senate could prevent the president from making recess appointments during a lengthy winter break by lawmakers — the appeals court blew past that issue and called into question nearly two centuries of recess appointments by presidents of both parties.

The three-judge panel of the appeals court in Washington ruled that presidents may bypass the confirmation process only during the sort of recess that occurs between formal sessions of Congress, rather than other breaks throughout the year. The gaps between formal sessions generally arise just once a year and sometimes — as in 2012, when the Senate had not formally adjourned before the next session began — are skipped entirely.