On March 27, 2010, President Obama announced the recess appointments of 15 persons, including two of the three pending nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and all four of the pending Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) nominees.  These recess appointments run until the end of 2011, when the Senate finishes its current term.

Recess appointees are eligible for Senate confirmation to full terms, but historically, the Senate has not confirmed many of those receiving recess appointments.

The NLRB nominees who received recess appointments include proposed Democratic appointees Craig Becker and Mark Pearce.  Becker was the Associate General Counsel to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and has been the target of strong opposition from Senate Republicans and the business community.  Most recently, a significant number of national trade associations wrote President Obama, urging that a recess appointment not be granted to Becker.  These business groups took no position on the nominations on Pearce or Brian Hayes, the Republican nominee to the NLRB, who did not receive a recess appointment.  

On March 23, the Supreme Court heard oral argument on whether decisions from the two-member NLRB are enforceable, based on whether two members constituted a quorum.  A ruling in that case, New Process Steel, L.P. v. NLRB, is expected before the current Supreme Court term ends in June.  As a result of the two recess appointments, however, the five-member NLRB will have four members and an undisputed quorum for conducting NLRB business and issuing decisions.

The EEOC recess appointments include Jacqueline A. Berrien to serve as Chair, Victoria Lipnic and Chai Feldblum as EEOC Commissioners, and P. David Lopez and General Counsel.  Lipnic is a Republican nominee and the other three recess appointments are Democratic nominees.  As a result of these recess appointments, instead of having just two members, the EEOC will have all five members in place plus a General Counsel, which will enable it to have a quorum and make decisions on pending regulatory and enforcement matters.