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Justice Department report defends Obama’s ‘recess’ appointments legal

The Justice Department is defending the legality of President Obama’s recent recess appointments, releasing Thursday a 23-page legal opinion that critics say is “unconvincing” and whose timing doesn’t coincide with the president’s decision.

The memo, justifying appointments made last week while Congress was technically not recessed, concludes what the White House claimed at the time — that Congress isn’t able to do business during “pro forma” sessions so it counts as a break

“The convening of periodic pro forma sessions in which no business is to be conducted does not have the legal effect of interrupting an intrasession recess otherwise long enough to qualify as a ‘Recess of the Senate’ under the Recess Appointments Clause,” reads the Jan. 6 memo written by Assistant Attorney General Virginia Seitz.

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