The important difference between this and other recess appointments is that the Senate had not declared they were in recess when Obama made the appointments. This was an abuse of emergency powers to overrule Senate approval of Presidential appointments.
In their ruling the judges said their duty is not to speed up the workings of government, but to hold to constitutional principles.
“If some administrative inefficiency results from our construction of the original meaning of the Constitution, that does not empower us to change what the Constitution commands,” the judges wrote.
The judges said the recess power was created for a time when Congress met only a few months out of the year, and was designed for the president to fill vacancies during the long periods when Congress was not meeting. In modern times, when Congress is almost always capable of meeting, the recess powers should be more circumscribed.