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Justices voice doubts on Obama recess appointments

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WASHINGTON — In an extended argument that contained large doses of history and practical politics, the Supreme Court on Monday seemed skeptical of the Obama administration’s contention that it had acted properly in bypassing the Senate to appoint several officials during a break in the Senate’s work.

Several justices seemed attracted to the relatively narrow argument that President Obama had acted during a break in the Senate’s work that was too brief to allow a recess appointment.

Others spoke in favor of a much broader argument that would limit such appointments to recesses between sessions of Congress.

Much of the argument concerned how to reconcile the text of the Constitution with more than a century of tradition.

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