Jan 28 - A court ruling barring presidential recess appointments while the Senate is not in session clouds the future of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray was named head of the CFPB last year in a recess appointment. That appointment runs out at the end of this year and he was re-nominated for the post last week by President Barack Obama.
The action by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia came in an unrelated case where it was ruled that three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board on Jan. 4, 2012, were unconstitutional. The President made these appointments and Cordray’s while the Senate was on a 20-day recess but holding pro-forma sessions every third day to block presidential action on appointments.
The White House responded that the ruling contradicts 150 years of precedent by both Democratic and Republican nominations. Republicans in Congress are challenging the re-nomination and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky., suggested the ruling casts doubt on the constitutionality of the CFPB.