National Consumers League

NCL statement on NLRB v. Noel Canning Supreme Court ruling

June 26, 2014

Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League,, (202) 835-3323

Washington, DC--Today's Supreme Court decision on the NLRB v. Noel Canning case is a sharp reminder that the U.S. Senate sometimes functions under outdated procedures that need to change. It also clears up the legal landscape on the circumstances under which the U.S. Constitution allows presidents to make temporary recess appointments to Executive Branch positions.

In this case, the Senate minority set out to prevent President Obama from replacing judges on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) when other judges were cycling off, thus making the NLRB inoperable due to a lack of members. The President was forced to make the recess appointments to the Board due to obstructionism and filibuster threats during the normal term. Without the Supreme Court-mandated quorum, the NLRB would cease in its mission to protect workers and employers – essentially stopping the cop on the beat from carrying out its duty.

Fortunately, Senate leaders in November 2013 changed Senate rules so that Executive Branch appointments can now be confirmed with a simple majority of the Senate and can’t be blocked by a filibuster. The move was a step closer to a functional Senate that, once again, will ensure that qualified nominees can receive an up-or-down vote and the important work of federal independent agencies will not be held hostage by the Senate minority.

With President Obama’s NLRB nominations ruled invalid, some 120 decisions made by the Board in the period contested may be challenged and justice for thousands of workers will be delayed, and in some cases, denied. NCL is confident the NLRB will handle the pending cases effected by Noel Canning efficiently and expeditiously.


About the National Consumers League 
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Its mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit