Greg Sargent at the Washington Post reports:
Obama is set to appoint Sharon Block, Terence Flynn, and Richard Grifin to the board – something unions have made a big priority for them in the new year. Senate Republicans have opposed the recess appointments to the NLRB on constitutional grounds, but unions charge that Republicans are only interested in rendering the agency inoperative.
Obama’s move, which will help energize unions in advance of the 2012 election, is yet another sign that he is determined to circumvent GOP opposition and make government functional again by any means necessary. It’s another sign that the White House and Dems have abanoned the illusion that anything can be done to secure bipartisan compromise with Republicans on the major items on Obama’s agenda.
From Think Progress:
All 47 Senate Republicans have warned Obama of a “constitutional conflict” should he choose to use his recess appointment powers – authority he is well within his right to use, as ThinkProgress’ Ian Millhiser noted yesterday – but it was Chief Justice John Roberts, a noted conservative, who said the president should make recess appointments to keep the NLRB functioning, as ThinkProgress reported in 2010.
Obama’s appointment of Block, Flynn, and Griffin is important, too, because it boosts the board’s membership to five, protecting its quorum even if member Brian Hayes follows through on his threats to quit. Preserving its right to quorum ensures that its rulings will not be thrown out on legal challenges, as more than 600 cases were by the Roberts Court in 2010.