Recess Appointments Make NLRB Terms Shorter

By March 29, 2010Labor Unions

The duration of a Presidential recess appointment usually causes confusion. We rely on the Congressional Research Service’s 2005 paper on the topic, “Recess Appointments:A Legal Overview, which indicates that a recess appointment lasts until the conclusion of the next Senate session. In the case of Craig Becker and Mark Pearce to be appointed to the National Labor Relations Board, their appointments would be in force through the end of 2011.

Both Becker and Pearce would have had (or will have) longer terms if confirmed by the Senate. The NLRB’s terms are five years, with staggered dates of service. President Obama nominated Becker to a term that expires Dec. 16, 2014, and Pearce to a term that expires Aug. 27, 2013.

The Republican nominee, Brian Hayes, whom the President did not appoint, was nominated to a term that expires Dec. 16, 2012.

The White House’s news release says the recess appointments will all stay in the Senate for confirmation. It’s hard to see how Republican Senators would ever allow Becker or Pearce to move forward.

Still, Hayes’ pending nomination gives the Senate Democrats some political leverage: You want Hayes, confirm all three. Or, more likely, you want Hayes, confirm the Presidential nominee for NLRB general counsel. As we noted Saturday: “The term of the general counsel, Ronald Meisburg, a Bush appointee, also expires in August. Unlike most federal branch agencies, the NLRB’s general counsel must be confirmed by the Senate, so more maneuvering is possible.”

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