Recall that the DC Circuit had struck down President Barack Obama’s “appointment” of three of his folks to the NLRB, ruling in blunt terms that these appointments were unconstitutional since they had been made while the Senate was in session.

Now the 3rd Appellate Circuit, centering its opinion on the “appointment” of Craig Becker in March 2010, has expanded on that for its area of jurisdiction (Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania), ruling that rulings made by this unconstitutionally constituted board were without effect since the NLRB, lacking a quorum, had no capacity for issuing its rulings.  The 3rd Circuit’s ruling says in part

We hold that the “the Recess of the Senate,” in the Recess Appointments Clause refers to only intersession breaks.  As a consequence, we conclude that the National Labor Relations Board panel below lacked the requisite number of members [three] to exercise the Board’s authority.

The narrow outcome of the ruling is this:

…a disputed union election that occurred at a New Jersey nursing home.  The NLRB denied the nursing home’s motion that the board illegitimately forced the company to recognize unionized managers.  The Appeals Court ruled that the board did not have the authority to dismiss the motion because of the recess appointments.

The broader outcome of the ruling is to invalidate over 900 rulings issued by the NLRB while it had no quorum with which to do so, including more than 200 since the board’s current makeup was ruled unconstitutional by the DC Circuit, which has national jurisdiction in such matters.

This can have only salutary effects for our country.

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