President Obama has re-nominated two members that he had previously, and unconstitutionally, appointed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in January 2012. Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, first nominated in late December 2011, were never properly vetted by the Senate and were “recess” appointed while the Senate was still in session. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has since ruled that the appointments were not proper.
Despite that ruling, the NLRB has been hearing and deciding cases. Because the Obama appointees are improper, that means that there is only one eligible member of the board. Under the New Process Steel decision, the NLRB must have its full quorum of three members in order to make decisions.
But the record of the current NLRB suggests that following law and upholding precedent are not things this Board does well. The NLRB spent most of 2012 overturning precedent. And former NLRB member John Raudabaugh has noted, many of these decisions could be overturned because of the improper appointments.
Additionally, suspicion has clouded over nominee Griffin for his previous employment with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). He’s been accused of covering up embezzlement.
Nonetheless, President Obama has re-nominated Block and Griffin.The fact that both members are currently holding their seats in defiance of a federal appeals court shows their lack of respect for the rule of law.