The Supreme Court’s recess appointments decision in Noel Canning was largely a disappointment from the perspective of originalism and the original meaning of the Recess Appointments Clause.
There were three issues involved in the case: (1) the type of recess issue (whether a recess appointment could be made only during an intersession recess or also during an intrasession recess); (2) the happen issue (whether a recess appointment could be made only to a vacancy that happened during the recess, or also to a vacancy that initially arose during the session); and (3) the pro forma issue (whether 1 minute sessions attended by 2 Senators count as real sessions).
A majority decision by Justice Breyer is almost always a bad thing for originalism. And that was true in Noel Canning. The majority got the type of recess issue wrong (saying that a recess appointment could be made during not only an intersession recess but also an intrasession recess). And it got the happen issue wrong (saying that a vacancy could be filled with a recess appointment not only if it happened during the recess, but also if it initially happened during the session).