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Policy: Labor

White House officially asks SCOTUS to overturn recess appointee ruling

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,White House,Sean Higgins,Supreme Court,Labor

The administration first announced last month it would ask the justices to review an appeals court ruling that said two of President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional. The ruling has rendered the NLRB effectively unable to function. According to the Associated Press, the administration just made the deadline for the petition today.

The White House has asked the Supreme Court to “to remove the resulting constitutional cloud over the acts of past and present recess appointments and to restore the president’s capacity to fill vacant offices temporarily when the Senate is unavailable to give its advice and consent.”

The case has potentially far-reaching implications, the AP notes:

The lower court ruling conflicts with other appeals courts and could threaten hundreds of opinions issued by the labor board and a host of other federal agencies, the petition argued. It would also “allow the Senate to disable the president from making recess appointments even when the Senate is unavailable to give its advice and consent.” And it “creates periods of potentially significant duration in which there is no power to fill vacant offices, not even temporarily, no matter how long the recess or how great the need that an office be filled,” the petition said.

A ruling, should the justices take up the case, will likely happen no earlier than October.

A copy of the administration’s brief can be found here. (Hat tip: SCOTUSBlog.com)

Fred Wszolek, spokesman for the business-backed Workforce Fairness Institute, said in a statement emailed to reporters:

President Obama’s so-called recess appointments to the NLRB were unconstitutional as the U.S. Senate was not in recess at the time, and in fact, convening regularly.  Therefore, [NLRB boardmembers] Sharon Block and Richard Griffin are not legitimate board members and the federal agency lacks a legal quorum.  We look forward to the Supreme Court’s decision providing closure to the workers and businesses operating under a cloud of uncertainty due to the Obama Administration’s complete disregard for the U.S. Constitution.

To reads the Examiner’s original  report on the ruling that sparked this, click here. The court’s decision was denounced by Big Labor. The NLRB originally tried to ignore the ruling, but found that lawsuits by Big Business challenging the board’s actions in light of the court’s decision made that impossible.

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