Froomkin has the media roundup. At least one of the appointments violates the law. Not that that has ever stopped Bush. Sen. Dodd is properly outraged by this:
"It is outrageous that the President has sought to stealthily appoint Sam Fox to the position of ambassador to Belgium when the President formally requested that the Fox nomination be withdrawn from the Senate because it was facing certain defeat in the Foreign Relations Committee last week. I seriously question the legality of the President's use of the recess appointment authority in this instance. I intend to seek an opinion on the legality of this appointment from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and invite other Senators to join with me in that request. This is underhanded and an abuse of Executive authority -- sadly this behavior has become the hallmark of this administration."
"Recess appointments are intended to give the president flexibility if Congress is out for a lengthy period of time, such as the four-week adjournment in summer. But Dodd said the law was not intended to circumvent lawmakers' approval.
"'This is really now taking the recess appointment vehicle and abusing this beyond anyone's imagination,' said Dodd, a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. 'This is a travesty.'....
"'How to reconcile this clear conflict between the pay restriction, which says that Fox cannot be paid, with the voluntary services provision, which says that the State Department cannot accept voluntary services from Fox?' queried one senior Democratic aide who asked for anonymity to speak frankly about the matter.
"'That is the $64,000 question,' he added."