ABC News reports that the US Supreme Court has just invalidated over 500 rulings made by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), because the decisions were made by just two board members instead of the congressionally mandated quorum of three. (The board has five seats, one of which is currently unfilled.)
This ruling does correct an injustice (or, really, over 500 injustices) and pushes back against one little pint of the tidal wave of executive branch maneuvers that exceed its legal authority.
The story says:
The high court, in a 5-4 ruling in which the court’s leading liberal–retiring Justice John Paul Stevens–sided with the court’s four most conservative members, said the law does not allow the National Labor Relations Board to operate while it is short-staffed because of political arguments.
To bring the board to its current four members, President Obama installed two through recess appointments because the Republicans had blocked them (as Democrats had blocked President Bush’s appointments).
Unfortunately, the 500 reopened cases will now be decided with Obama’s “temporary” appointments plunging the balance to the left.
In fact, of the four current members on the board, the only member solely appointed by a Republican administration, Peter Schaumber, will have his term expire on August 27, 2010. So then, the NLRB will be down to just the minimum three required to make a quorum–and all of them Obama-approved. With the deck so stacked in his union buddies’ favor, it’s unlikely that Obama will be in any rush to fill the two extraneous seats.
In other words, if management won any of the 500 rulings previously, they can kiss those goodbye.