President Barack Obama isn't the first chief executive to make recess appointments to government agencies like the National Labor Relations Board. But if last week's federal appeals court ruling stands, he may be the last.
In general, when the president wants to appoint people to vacant executive posts, he must present his nominees to the Senate for approval. But many presidents have bypassed that process, especially when a nominee faces stiff opposition, by appointing people while the Senate is in recess.
This had gone on for years, until a few of President Obama's recess appointments to the NLRB were challenged in court. A ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown that process into question.