House committee to probe recess appointments

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Obama recess appointed Richard Cordray as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as three members of the National Labor Relations Board. A filibuster in the Senate had blocked Cordray, and the NLRB nominees were expected to face fierce GOP opposition as well.

A few days after the appointments, the Justice Department made public a memo defending the move. The Office of Legal Counsel contended that the pro forma sessions were not legitimate periods of work for the Senate, and could be ignored for the purpose of recess appointments.

The president's move is already being challenged in court, as the National Right to Work Foundation has filed a motion challenging the legality of the move. Other business groups have suggested more court challenges questioning the legitimacy of the move could be forthcoming.

The White House defended the moves, calling them a necessary step to allow those agencies to be fully up and running. Under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that created the CFPB, the agency cannot fully realize its powers without a director, and NLRB membership had fallen below the quorum needed for it to function.