Recess Law and Legal Definition

Recess, in a legal context, refers to a break in a trial or other court proceedings or a legislative session until a defined date and time in the future. Recess is distinguished from an "adjournment," which winds up the proceedings.

The U.S. Constitution gives the President the power to nominate, “and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, Justices of the Supreme Court, and “all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law.” The President also has power “to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.” The framers recognized that the Senate would not always be in session to give advice and consent to presidential nominations. To cover these periods, the President is authorized to make recess appointments that are needed to keep government operating effectively.