The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that President Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board last year were unconstitutional because the Senate was technically never out of session for the holidays, but in "pro-forma" session, the AP reports.
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.
Obama appointed two Democrats, union lawyer Richard Griffin and Labor Department official Sharon Block, and a Republican, NLRB lawyer Terence Flynn, to the board last January.