Supreme Court Strikes Down President Obama’s Recess Appointments

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President Barack Obama speaks outside the White House on June 13, 2014. (Credit: CNN)

The Supreme Court has ruled President Obama exceeded his power under the Constitution by filling federal positions when the Senate was on a brief break.

But the narrow ruling also preserved the president’s power to make recess appointments in general.

While the president is authorized to fill “vacancies” while the Senate is on “recess,” the justices decided in a 9-0 ruling that the Senate was not on a true recess in January of 2012 when Obama filled three seats on the National Labor Relations Board.

The decision is a rebuke to the president, but its short-term impact on Obama could be muted. Earlier this year, the Democratic-controlled Senate scrapped a long-standing filibuster rule that had allowed the current Republican minority to block a vote on many of his nominees.

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