The fate of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hangs in the balance as the Board appointment process has become increasingly politicized over the last two presidential administrations.

On Tuesday President Obama named three nominees to the NLRB in order to fill out the five-member, bipartisan board, just three months after January’s D.C. Circuit Court decision claimed the appointments the president made during 2012 Congressional “pro-forma” sessions were unconstitutional.

Decisions made by the contested Board, including the aggressive expansion of employee and union rights, are currently in jeopardy until this issue is likely decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Court chooses not to hear the case, the D.C. Circuit’s ruling would stand, nullifying several decisions that have improved labor relations since January 4, 2012.

Two new nominees, Republican lawyers Harry I. Johnson, III and Philip A. Miscimarra, join the renominated Democrat Mark Gaston Pearce, who is currently serving as the only undisputed member of the Board. Democrats Sharon Block and Richard Griffin were appointed after the opening of the second session of the 112th Congress in February; if all five are confirmed by the Senate, the NLRB will be composed of three Democrats and two Republicans.

“I urge the Senate to confirm them swiftly so that this bipartisan board can continue its important work on behalf of the American people,” President Obama said in a statement Tuesday.

The House passed a Republican-backed bill today that would prohibit the NLRB from issuing decisions until a final judgment is made on the president’s 2012 NLRB appointments, although the legislation is not expected to gain traction in the Senate. If the Senate confirms the president’s candidates, their placement would mark the first time the Board has had five confirmed members since 2003.

 

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