The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled President Obama's January 4, 2012, recess appointments of three people to the National Labor Relations Board are constitutionally invalid because the U.S. Senate was not actually in recess.

Denise M. Keyser, a labor and employment law partner in the New Jersey office of Ballard Spahr LLP, called the decision "huge."

"By making the decision the way they have, they have just changed the way the U.S. government functions going forward," Ms. Keyser said. She added that since 1921, presidents have made intrasession appointments like these hundreds of times, and that the ruling could affect future appointments.

"Forget it. There are going to be judgeships and other federal offices that are going to be vacant for a very long time," Ms. Keyser said.

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Labor and Employment