During a recess of three days or more, that is, when the US Senate is officially gaveled into recess for three days or more, the President of the United States has the opportunity to approve nominations that typically require Senate approval.
How long does a recess appointment last? According to the Congressional Research Service, a recess appointment expires at the end of the Senate’s next session or when an individual (either the recess appointee or someone else) is nominated, confirmed, and permanently appointed to the position, whichever occurs first. So it isn't necessarily a permanent solution, but it can circumvent the advise and consent process enshrined in that pesky little document called the US Constitution.
Obama, frustrated by his extreme nominees' inability to pass muster in the Senate, decided to recess appoint his most controversial nominees. Richard Cordray, now head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three nominees to the National Labor Relations Board were put into place by the President with the stroke of a pen, thanks to this recess appointment power.
There's just one problem. It wasn't recess.
This could, and frankly, should, turn into a huge Constitutional issue for this administration. For the President to completely ignore the advise and consent clause of the Constitution is inexcusable, unforgivable and if it had been a Republican who pulled this stunt, impeachable.
Time for the Senate Republicans to step up and put a halt to this willful shredding of the Constitution.