President Obama has announced that he will nominate two Biglaw lawyers to fill the currently vacant seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The White House said yesterday that Obama plans to nominate Harry Johnson III, a partner at Arent Fox, and Philip Miscimarra, a partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius, to the board. Both nominees are Republicans. The NLRB currently consists of all Democrats.
Obama also plans to nominate NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce, a Democrat, for a second term, as his current term ends Aug. 27.
“By enforcing workplace protections, upholding the rights of workers and providing a stable workplace environment for businesses, the NLRB plays a vital role in our efforts to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class,” Obama said in a statement. “I urge the Senate to confirm them swiftly so that this bipartisan board can continue its important work on behalf of the American people.”
The most recent nominees come after Obama asked the Senate to confirm Sharon Block and Richard Griffin to the NLRB. In January, the D.C. Circuit ruled that Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate and appointed Block and Griffin to fill vacancies on the NLRB in January 2012 during what the president thought was a recess break. Since the decision, Republicans have claimed that all the board’s decisions have been invalid since the recess appointments. The controversy also has sparked lawsuits challenging decisions the NLRB handed down last year.
The Obama administration plans to appeal the D.C. Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court.
Obama has reason for pushing for the Senate to act fast on his nominations. House Republicans are expected to vote this week on a measure that could effectively shut down the NLRB until the Senate confirms new members constituting a five-member quorum or until the Supreme Court decides the NLRB has the authority to act.
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