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Supreme Court Rules President Violated Constitution in Labor Board Recess Appointments

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Late last month, the Supreme Court in National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) v. Noel Canning unanimously  ruled that President Obama violated the Constitution in 2012 when he appointed Sharon Block, Terence F. Flynn and Richard F. Griffin Jr., to the National Labor Relations Board during a break in the Senate’s work when the chamber was convening every three days in short pro forma sessions in which no business was conducted.

The ruling means that the hundreds of decisions made while the agency was unconstitutionally constructed are now in doubt. The NLRB will need to revisit those verdicts, which could draw the labor board away from its agenda – including the recently re-proposed "ambush" election rule. The NLRB is now scrambling to determine what is required following the finding that the board contained members whose appointments were unconstitutional. Following the decision the NLRB announced, "We are analyzing the impact that the Court’s decision has on Board cases in which the January 2012 recess appointees participated. The Agency is committed to resolving any cases affected by today’s decision as expeditiously as possible." (All the current board members have been constitutionally approved by the Senate.)

Republicans and business groups hailed the victory against the President’s overreach. NRMCA supported the Canning case through its work with the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Fox at

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