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Obama recess appointments face legal challenge


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Washington Examiner:

Two pro-business advocacy groups on Friday filed the first legal challenge to President Barack Obama's recent recess appointments, asking a federal judge to find them unconstitutional.

The National Federation of Independent Business and the National Right to Work Foundation argue Obama cannot legally bypass the Senate to appoint three new members of the National Labor Relations Board, an agency that referees labor-management disputes.

The groups made the argument in a motion in federal district court in Washington, D.C., as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the labor board for requiring businesses to put up posters telling workers about their right to form a union.

The challenge came a day after the Justice Department issued a legal opinion defending the appointments of the labor board members, and the appointment of a national consumer watchdog, against Republican criticism.

Obama stoked controversy when he made the appointments Jan. 4 during the Senate's current 20-day recess. Republicans leaders have called it an unusual and unconstitutional power grab, saying the Senate was not technically in recess when Obama acted.

Neither the White House nor the NLRB had any immediate comment on the motion. But in the legal opinion released Thursday, the Justice Department argued the president has authority to make such appointments because the Senate is on a 20-day recess, even though it has held periodic pro forma sessions in which no business is conducted.

The department said the pro forma sessions — some with as few as one member present — have not been sufficient for the chamber to exercise its constitutional authority to advise and consent to normal presidential nominations.

Administration officials have said Obama made the appointments because Senate Republicans have been unfairly blocking Senate confirmation of nominees as a way to limit the power of agencies they oppose.snip
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