- Robert Alt, The Buckeye Institute
- Professor Peter Shane, Ohio State Law
On November 7, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in National Labor Relations Board v. SW General, Inc. SW General, Inc. provides ambulance services to hospitals in Arizona. A union had negotiated “longevity pay” for SW General’s emergency medical technicians, nurses, and firefighters. In December 2012, between the expiration of one collective bargaining agreement and the negotiation of a new one, SW General stopped paying the longevity pay. The union filed an unfair labor practices claim with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which issued a formal complaint. An administrative law judge determined that SW General had committed unfair labor practices, but SW General contended that the NLRB complaint was invalid because the Acting General Counsel of the NLRB at the time, Lafe Solomon, had been serving in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA). President Barack Obama had nominated Solomon--who had then been serving as Acting General Counsel after the General Counsel had resigned--to serve as General Counsel, but the Senate had not acted on the nomination. The president had ultimately withdrawn the nomination and replaced it with that of Richard Griffin, who was confirmed. In the intervening period--including when the NLRB complaint had issued against SW General--Solomon had continued to serve as Acting General Counsel. SW General argued that under the FVRA, Solomon became ineligible to hold the Acting position once nominated by the president to the General Counsel position. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed, and vacated the NLRB’s enforcement order. The NLRB then obtained a writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court.
The question now before the Supreme Court is whether the FVRA precondition in 5 U.S.C. 3345(b)(1), on service in an acting capacity by a person nominated by the President to fill the office on a permanent basis, which requires that a person who is nominated to fill a vacant office subject to the FVRA may not perform the office’s functions and duties in an acting capacity unless the person served as first assistant to the vacant office for at least 90 days in the year preceding the vacancy, applies only to first assistants who take office under subsection (a)(1) of 5 U.S.C. 3345, or whether it also limits acting service by officials like Solomon, who assume acting responsibilities under subsections (a)(2) and (a)(3).
To discuss the case, we have Kristin Hickman, who is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Harlan Albert Rogers Professor of Law, and Associate Director, Corporate Institute at the University of Minnesota Law School.
Julius Caesar is Shakespeare’s classic depiction of the abuse of power, political assassination and intrigue – a plot that would rival any episode of House of Cards or Scandal. The play offers a valuable and timeless springboard for a discussion of the use of executive power in 21st century America – and its future under a Clinton or Trump presidency.
The Shakespeare & the Law series features a staged reading of the abridged play performed by prominent judges, attorneys, journalists, political strategists and scholars, followed by a panel discussion that explores the implications of the work in the era of Obama, Clinton and Trump. Presented in partnership with the Federalist Society, McCarter & English LLP, and Foley Hoag LLP.
This event took place at the Wimberly Theatre at the Boston Center of the Arts in Boston, MA on September 28, 2016.
Wimberly Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts
What are the limits of the powers of federal agencies? Prof. Chris Walker of the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law discusses federal agency lawmaking and whether or not the administrative state is constitutional.