Feldblum helped write the Americans With Disabilities Act and is a professor at the Georgetown University School of Law, according to the DC Agenda, a gay newspaper. She also helped draft the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, pending legislation that would ban job bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Feldblum received a confirmation hearing in November, but her nomination had been put on hold by an unidentified Republican senator, according to Keen News Service. She was opposed by several social conservative groups, including the Family Research Council and the Traditional Values Coalition, the news service reported.

The president can make appointments without Senate confirmation when the Senate is in recess. Presidents often resort to the controversial recess appointments when senators repeatedly block their nominees from reaching confirmation votes.

“The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees,” Obama said in a statement, according to the DC Agenda. “But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis.”

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