msnbc | January 25, 2013
>>> so breaking news we reported earlier from our nation's capital where a federal appeals court just ruled that the president violated the constitution when making recess appointments for a labor relations panel. the president claims he acted properly because the senate was in recess. but the court says that's not so. the senate was still technically in session. joining me now to fill us in, nbc news justice correspondent pete williams and jimmy williams . pete , break this down for us. the court 's ruling. why were the president's three recess appointments deemed unconstitutional?
>> for two reasons. the court looks at the wording of the constitution and says -- it says these can be made during the recess, not any recess. the recess which the court says is only the long break between sessions of the senate. so these little brief breaks like for a holiday, the court says don't count. you can't do recess appointments during them. second, the court said you can only make recess appointments for vacancies that arise during a recess. that's the whole point for this phrase in the constitution. they say back in the days when members of congress could not get on a plane and come rushing back to washington and were in their districts far flung across the country in the early days of our republic, if there was a vacancy, the president didn't have to wait until congress came back to town months later. so for both of those reasons, they say these appointments were invalid.
>> all right. jimmy, this is a victory for republicans. what are the implications because this is not a good way to start for the president's second administration. to get this handed down.
>> well, pete is right. this is -- the court ruled correctly. they were not in technical recess. what he did was unconstitutional. what does it mean? it means that everything -- those appointees, plus the appointment of richard cord ry at the consumer financial protection bureau, anything those two agencies sent out as rulings now can be deemed invalid or null and void . that can affect all kinds of things from credit cards , interest rates, anything that those two agencies had done now is gone. it's over. it didn't count. and so for the republicans and for the chamber of commerce and other business groups , this is a big victory. but there's -- that's a short-term victory. the problem with it is this never would have happened had republican senators not been filibustering these nominees to begin with.
>> pete , real quickly, where does it go from here? the white house counsel obviously reviewing this.
>> it's going to go to the supreme court . they'll have to have the last word on this. the business groups have been fighting this in courts all over the country. so it's going to be probably the supreme court that will have to resolve it.
>> nbc's pete williams , jimmy williams ,