The ruling was a blow to the administration and a victory for Mr. Obama’s Republican critics – and a handful of liberal ones – who had accused Mr. Obama of improperly claiming that he could make the appointments under his executive powers. The administration had argued that the president could decide that senators were really on a lengthy recess even though the Senate considered itself to be meeting in “pro forma” sessions.
But the court went beyond the narrow dispute over pro forma sessions and issued a far more sweeping ruling than expected. Legal specialists said its reasoning would virtually eliminate the recess appointment power for all future presidents when it has become increasingly difficult for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their nominees. In recent years, senators have more frequently balked at consenting to executive appointments. President George W. Bush made about 170 such appointments, including John R. Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations and two appeals court judges, William H. Pryor Jr. and Charles W. Pickering Sr.
“If this opinion stands, I think it will fundamentally alter the balance between the Senate and the president by limiting the president’s ability to keep offices filled,” said John P. Elwood, who handled recess appointment issues for the Justice Department during the Bush administration. “This is certainly a red-letter day in presidential appointment power.”
Think Obama has a hard enough time appointing people now? Imagine how hard it’ll be if the ruling stands. FWIW, it cuts back a loophole in the current law that allows the president to appoint politicians without Senate approval, by scaling back the definition of the word “recess” in regards to executive power.