Sunday, April 11, 2010

The New Regime - SCOTUS, EEOC, NLRB

There has been a changing of the guard the past week or so. This will be a sort of catch-all post to highlight some of the changes.

Supreme Court
On Friday, Justice John Paul Stevens announced that he will retire from the Supreme Court this summer. Although Justice Douglas will retain the title for longest-serving Justice at 36 years 209 days, Justice Stevens's 34+ years is not too shabby. I'll keep everyone posted on Obama's second nominee (his first being current Justice Sotomayor), who has yet to be announced, from a labor and employment law perspective.

Justice Stevens recently wrote the dissent in Gross v. FBL and authored one of (if not the) most-cited Supreme Court cases in history, Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council. It's probably not famous outside of legal circles, but it's a monster in the field of administrative law (creating "Chevron Deference").

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 
The EEOC issued a series of press releases last Wednesday and Thursday to announce its new leadership:

National Labor Relations Board
On April 7, 2010, Craig Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce were sworn in as the newest members of the NLRB. They are both Democrats and swing the balance of the Board to 3 Democrats to 1 Republican. One vacancy remains. President Obama appointed both of them as recess appointments. Becker is particularly controversial for his heavy union ties.

Some of you may recall that the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in New Process Steel v. NLRB a few weeks back. That case will determine whether a 2-member NLRB has authority to decide cases under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Although the NLRB now has four members, the case is not moot (in other words, it still matters) because the Supreme Court will decide whether the 2-member board's decisions from the last two years still count.

Posted by Philip Miles, an employment lawyer with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania.

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