Court to Review Recess Picks

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from The Wall Street Journal,

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide the scope of a president’s constitutional authority to make appointments while lawmakers are in recess, teeing up a possible ruling by the high court on a fundamental question of separation of powers.

Democratic and Republican administrations have used recess appointments for decades to install nominees without Senate confirmation. But the practice has triggered partisan fights in recent years, most recently between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans who have sought to block many of his appointees.

The issue made it to the high court after a federal appeals court invalidated Mr. Obama’s use of recess appointments to install three new members on the five-member National Labor Relations Board early last year. That appeals-court ruling threatened the legitimacy of hundreds of actions the labor board has taken since those appointments, which included two Democrats and one Republican.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “We are confident that the president’s authority to make recess appointments will be upheld by the courts.” The administration also said that without the NLRB appointments, the board would have lacked a quorum to decide disputes between workers and their employers.

The high court will consider the NLRB case in its next term, which begins in October, with a ruling expected by July 2014.

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