The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to review a lower court decision that invalidated part of a former U.S. labor board official’s tenure, in a case that could curb the next president’s power to staff top positions in his or her administration.
The justices will hear an appeal of a 2015 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit saying that once President Barack Obama nominated Lafe Solomon in 2011 to be general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Solomon should not have continued to fill the position on a temporary or “acting” basis pending Senate confirmation.
The appeals court said a 1998 federal law bars anyone from serving in an acting role while they are the nominee unless they were previously the “first assistant” to that post.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the case could decide if the White House can temporarily fill high-level administration positions with nominees waiting for confirmation, which could take on added importance if the next president faces protracted nomination battles in the Senate.
The case will give the Supreme Court a second chance to weigh in on executive branch authority related to filling positions at the NLRB. In 2014, the court in NLRB v. Noel Canning ruled that three 2013 appointments Obama made to the board while Congress was in recess were invalid.