The National Labor Relations Board says it will continue to decide new cases despite a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that invalidated three recess appointments to the board in January 2012.
A three-judge panel from the federal appeals court ruled on Jan. 25 that President Obama's appointments of Democrats Sharon Block and Richard Griffin and Republican Terence Flynn were invalid because they were not made during a true congressional recess. The ruling, if upheld, could nullify all rulings made since Jan. 4, 2012, the date the president made the appointments.
"Considering the text, history and structure of the Constitution, these appointments were invalid from their inception," the panel concluded.
But in a statement, NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce, a Democrat, noted the court's ruling applied to only one specific NLRB case, Noel Canning v. NLRB, and similar questions have been raised in "more than a dozen cases pending in other courts of appeals." The board believes the appointments will be upheld, Pearce said.
Nevertheless, pro-business groups cheered the ruling. Geoff Burr, vice president of federal affairs for the Associated Builders and Contractors, said, "The president's decision to bypass the U.S. Senate and appoint pro-union activist members to the NLRB was a political, partisan act that had to be challenged."
ABC led the coalition that legally challenged the recess appointments. The ruling "will invalidate decisions unlawfully made over the past year by the NLRB and allow them to be heard by an un-biased panel," Burr said.