Challenge to Obama recess appointments denied

Fri Mar 2, 2012 2:21pm EST

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By Alexandra Alper

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday threw out a challenge to President Barack Obama's recent recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, refusing to add the issue to a lawsuit on another topic.

"The Court declines this invitation to take up a political dispute that is not before it, and the motion will be denied," wrote U.S. District Court Justice Amy Berman Jackson.

The National Federation of Independent Business, a lobbying group for small businesses, sought to add the appointments challenge to a legal action filed last year. It argued the appointments violated the U.S. Constitution.

Jackson faulted the plaintiffs for trying to "shoehorn" the recess appointment into a case about an NLRB rule.

Obama set off a furor in January when he bypassed Congress and installed nominees into politically sensitive jobs at the NLRB and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Critics contend the recess appointments were possibly illegal because they were made while the Senate was still technically in session.

The NFIB and other groups had asked the court to consider appointments as part of a legal challenge to an NLRB rule requiring employers to display a poster explaining workers' rights to unionize.

Jackson ruled the NLRB had the right to require employers to display the union notice, but could not call failure to do so an "unfair labor practice."

Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB's small business legal center, said the group plans to appeal. (Reporting By Alexandra Alper; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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