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Chamber weighs in against Obama NLRB picks

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The legal arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling that invalidated President Obama's controversial recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

During a brief Senate work break in early 2012, President Obama pushed through three recess appointments — even as the Senate remained formally in session expressly to block the president from doing this.

In a case brought by a company involved in an NLRB case, a D.C.-based federal appeals court ruled that Mr. Obama's acted unconstitutionally in going around the Senate with the recess picks. The three NLRB appointees — Sharon Block, Richard Griffin and Terence Flynn, who has since stepped down — began serving immediately after Mr. Obama acted.

Now, the case is headed to the Supreme Court for a final decision, and the Chamber asking the justices to uphold the lower court's ruling, filing a legal brief on behalf of their member, Noel Canning Corp., which originally sued the Obama administration to reverse the controversial recess appointments.

"The D.C. Circuit got it right — these so-called recess appointments are unconstitutional," Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said in a statement. "The president's unprecedented abuse of the recess power left the NLRB in a legal limbo, causing major confusion for both employers and employees alike. We continue to support our member, Noel Canning, at the Supreme Court with all the legal firepower needed to defend the company and to help restore the proper constitutional balance."

This comes as President Obama tries to renominate these controversial members to the NLRB. A Senate committee on Wednesday voted to send their nominations to the floor, but Republicans will likely to try to block that vote once again.

If the Supreme Court upholds the appeals court's decision, not only will the NLRB members who were recess appointed be forced to step down, but all of their rulings on labor disputes over the last year and a half could be nullified.

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