June 26, 2014
Today’s ruling clears up the legal landscape on a question both Democratic and Republican presidents have faced for decades – the circumstances under which the United States Constitution allows them to make temporary recess appointments to executive branch positions.
President Obama made the recess appointments to the NLRB because obstructionism by Republican senators was about to make the National Labor Relations Board inoperable due to a lack of NLRB members. The President did the right thing and acted on solid legal authority in making these appointments. Had he not acted, millions of workers would have been deprived of their rights under our labor laws.
Fortunately Senate leaders successfully changed Senate rules so that Executive Branch nominees can now be confirmed by a majority of the Senate and cannot be blocked by a minority of senators.
The impact of today’s ruling is far less than it might have been, because there is now a full complement of Senate-confirmed members of the NLRB and a Senate-confirmed NLRB general counsel. We are confident the NLRB will handle the pending cases impacted by Noel Canning efficiently and expeditiously.
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