Now back to Scotusblog's invaluable liveblog as the Supreme Court hands down decisions today.
Meanwhile, here is Scotusblog's Lyle Denniston's commentary at what is at stake in this case.
The specific issue is the scope of the Constitution’s grant of presidential power to put an official temporarily into office without Senate approval – a power that arises when the Senate is not on hand to review that appointment. Answering that could require the Court to define when the Senate, in a legal sense, goes into recess.
The issue goes as far back as recess appointments by George Washington, but it also is as new as the latest partisan jousting between President Obama and Senate Republicans over his appointment power. The gridlock over Obama nominees has threatened to make one government agency – the NLRB – unable to function.
While the Court will be focusing on constitutional questions, the outcome has real potential for giving either the Senate or the White House real tactical advantages in the ongoing confirmation wars. It could give a resistant Senate a chance to nearly take away the president’s recess appointment authority, or it could give the White House a way to get around filibuster-driven obstruction of nominees.