Ex-Ted Kennedy Aide Back on the Labor Board?

Barack Obama Renominates Illegal 2012 Recess Appointee to NLRB

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Obama had violated the U.S. Constitution in early 2012 as he sought to pack the powerful National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with extreme proponents of monopolistic unionism.

obama_trumka_blockIt was a little more than two-and-a-half years ago that the President, acting at Big Labor’s behest, installed three of his nominees, two of them with established records as aggressive advocates of compulsory unionism, on the NLRB before any U.S. Senate debates or votes had been held on the nominations.

The White House claimed that ex-Ted Kennedy aide Sharon Block, International Union of Operating Engineers union lawyer Richard Griffin, and lawyer Terence Flynn were legally permissible “recess” appointees to the NLRB.

But the fact is, the Senate was not in recess when these three NLRB appointments were made back in January 2012.  Writing for a 9-0 High Court majority in NLRB v. Noel Canning, Justice Stephen Breyer explained that the Senate was not adjourned, as that term is defined in Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution.

‘Getting Slapped Down By the Supreme Court Was Just a Setback’

All nine justices also soundly rejected Obama Administration lawyers’ contention that Article I, Section 5’s definition of “adjourn” can’t be used to restrict the President’s appointment power.

Did it trouble the President that no Supreme Court justices, not even his own two appointees, could accept the excuse his Administration had made for circumventing the Senate? Judging by appearances, not a bit.

Less than two weeks after the Supreme Court issued its Noel Canning rebuke to the White House, Mr. Obama actually renominated union-boss favorite Sharon Block to the NLRB.

As Sean Higgins of the Washington Examiner astutely noted in a July 21 commentary regarding this move, Mr. Obama “could hardly have [made] it clearer that when it comes to labor policy he was going to plow ahead with the exact same agenda. Getting slapped down by the Supreme Court was just a setback.”

Why does the President think he can afford to be so blasé?

Last year, when it was already clear that the phony 2012 “recess” appointments would ultimately be tossed out as unconstitutional, Big Labor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) launched a preemptive strike to ensure the President kept the power to appoint forced-unionism extremists to the NLRB.

In July 2013, at union bosses’ prodding, Mr. Reid used the threat of a permanent Senate rule change to extract a pledge from establishment GOP senators not to support extended debates against several then-pending Obama NLRB nominations.

Stopping Senate Confirmation Of Sharon Block Will Be an Uphill Battle

Then, late last year, Mr. Reid and 51 other Senate Democrats publicly declared that for the rest of the current Congress they would generally ignore the longstanding rule of their chamber enabling a minority of 41 senators to delay confirmation of presidential nominations by conducting an extended debate.

“Since Harry Reid’s majority caucus has 55 members today, and it now takes just 51 votes to shut down a debate and ram through a presidential nomination other than to the Supreme Court, stopping Sharon Block will be an uphill battle,” said National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.

“Nevertheless, Right to Work advocates must do everything possible to thwart this appointment, because the stakes are very high.

“Within the next few months, assuming three of the five NLRB seats continue to be controlled by forced-unionism zealots, the board is poised to impose sweeping changes to decades-old procedures under which Big Labor may obtain monopoly-bargaining control over workers.

“The unmistakable aim of the proposed ‘ambush election’ rules is to make it even easier for Big Labor to corral employees into unions.

“However, if a tidal wave of public opposition prevents Harry Reid from getting the 51 votes he needs to replace current union-label NLRB member Nancy Schiffer, whose term expires late this year, with Ms. Block, then the entire NLRB election rules-change power grab could be derailed.”

Mr. Mix vowed over the next few weeks to mobilize Right to Work activists in all 50 states to contact their senators and press them to oppose confirmation of Ms. Block to the NLRB on all votes.