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Court: Obama appointments are unconstitutional

By By SAM HANANEL

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies on a labor relations panel.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit says Obama did not have the power to make recess appointments earlier this year to the National Labor Relations Board.

Obama claims he acted properly because the Senate was away for the holidays. But the court says the Senate technically stayed in session when lawmakers gaveled in and out every few days for so-called "pro forma" sessions.

GOP lawmakers used the tactic specifically to prevent Obama from using his recess power to fill vacancies in an agency they claimed was too pro-union.

The Obama administration is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

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