"This is a big, big decision for executive power," Elwood said. "It is one of the most important decisions in decades."

The ruling also throws into question the legality of the appointment of Richard Cordray, the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Obama used the same type of recess appointment to install Cordray; his appointment was challenged in a separate lawsuit.


White House spokesman Jay Carney called the ruling "novel and unprecedented" and said it contradicted 150 years of practice by both Democratic and Republican administrations.

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