WASHINGTON -- A U.S. appeals court Friday found President Barack Obama's appointments to the federal labor board without Senate approval were unconstitutional, a ruling that throws into question hundreds of board decisions and may extend to the head of a new consumer finance agency.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington in a unanimous opinion sided with Republican lawmakers and a canning company who argued that Obama's three "recess appointments" to the U.S. National Labor Relations Board last year, made after Republicans refused to consider nominees, were "constitutionally invalid" because the Senate wasn't in recess at the time.
"Allowing the president to define the scope of his own appointments power would eviscerate the Constitution's separation of powers," U.S. Circuit Judge David Sentelle wrote in the 46-page opinion.
White House press secretary Jay Carney, calling the decision "novel and unprecedented," said it contradicts 150 years of practice by Democratic and Republican administrations. The White House likely will file a U.S. Supreme Court appeal, experts say.