(AP) WASHINGTON — Republicans and business groups told a federal appeals court Wednesday that President Barack Obama violated the Constitution earlier this year when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies in his administration.

Attorneys for the groups told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that Obama abused his power in January when he made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

I would suggest there is a huge cloud hanging over the National Labor Relations Board right now,” said Noel Francisco, attorney for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups challenging the action.

The case is an important test of presidential power and could determine whether the Senate can indefinitely block presidential appointments by refusing to adjourn. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky came to watch the hearing in a packed courtroom. McConnell and 46 other Senate Republicans filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing the appointments are invalid.
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