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Supreme Court Rules Against NLRB Recess Appointments

Supreme Court Rules Against NLRB Recess Appointments

June 27, 2014

Hundreds of National Labor Relations Board decisions and rules could be called into question now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that recess appointments made by the President in January 2012 were invalid. The court ruled unanimously that the appointments were unconstitutional, but a split court (5-4) on why the appointments were unconstitutional leaves the door open for future recess appointments.

In the case, a beverage distributor questioned whether the NLRB had a quorum, and therefore the ability to make decisions and rules, after President Obama made recess appointments to fill three vacancies on the board. 

The board made more than 400 decisions during the tenure including the appointees, so now the question is whether those decisions are valid and binding. And if they’re not, how will the board handle the cases involved?

The cases in question cover a lot of legal ground, from protection for what someone says about an employer on social media sites to collective bargaining issues.

NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce made a statement regarding the Supreme Court decision, saying the board is “committed to resolving any cases affected by today’s decision as expeditiously as possible.”

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