A US court has dealt a blow to US President Barack Obama early into his second term, ruling that he violated the American constitution by making "recess" appointments bypassing the Senate confirmation process.
In its ruling the federal appeals court said Obama violated the US Constitution when he installed three officials on the National Labour Relations Board a year ago.
The court ruled that allowing the President to make such appointments as a way around Senate opposition "would wholly defeat the purpose of the framers in the careful separation of powers structure" they created.
The ruling by the federal appeals court yesterday is considered to be a blow to Obama, who started his second four-year term just days ago.
The White House, however, said it disagrees with the decision of the court.
"I would simply say we respectfully but strongly disagree with this decision. It counters 150 years of precedent. There are over 280 recess appointments made during intersession recess appointments by Democratic and Republican administrations alike," White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters.
"So I think our view on this in terms of the precedent here is buttressed by some significant facts," Carney said.
"Again, our disagreement with this is respectful, but it's strong. And it applies to one case, one company," he said.
"Its opinion is very sweeping, as I understand it. It contradicts 150 years of history," Carney said.
The New York Times said the court went beyond the narrow dispute over pro forma sessions and issued a far more sweeping ruling than expected.
"If this opinion stands, I think it will fundamentally alter the balance between the Senate and the President by limiting the President's ability to keep offices filled," John P Elwood, who handled recess appointment issues for the Justice Department during the administration of President George W Bush, told the daily.
"This is certainly a red-letter day in presidential appointment power," he was quoted as saying.