Surprise! Obama nominates former recess appointee to powerful NLRB post

posted at 11:21 am on August 7, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

This is a few days old, but it’s worth highlighting — especially since Democrats are making noises about proceeding with filibuster changes despite the agreement made last month with Republicans.  The two sides cut that deal in the Senate to keep Barack Obama from reappointing his recess appointees to the National Labor Relations Board to rescue their anti-business rulings over the past year from courts that have ruled the appointments unconstitutional and mooted their work since January 2012.  In exchange, Republicans allowed floor votes on Thomas Perez’ confirmation as Secretary of Labor and pledged to approve replacement NLRB commissioner appointments in trade for keeping Richard Griffin and Sharon Block out of the bureau.

Guess who’s coming back — and perhaps more powerful than before?

President Barack Obama nominated former union lawyer Richard Griffin Jr. to be general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, just as Mr. Griffin is being displaced as a board member because of a dispute over how he was appointed.

The move could spark a backlash from some Republicans and some in the business community, who have said Mr. Griffin defiantly remained on the board after courts deemed his appointment unconstitutional.

Democratic and Republican senior congressional aides are at odds over whether his Senate confirmation will be smooth. A senior Democratic leadership aide said Republicans had pledged not to hold up the confirmation—as part of a bipartisan deal last month to avoid a showdown over filibusters and win confirmation for new labor board picks and five other executive branch nominees. But a senior aide to GOP leadership and a top Republican aide to the Senate labor committee said no such commitment was made.

The general counsel at the NLRB is not just an advisory role to the commission, as a chief counsel role operates in other agencies.  In some ways, Griffin will have more power to act — unilaterally — in this position than he did as a commissioner:

The role of general counsel is a powerful one at the agency, which oversees union elections and referees private-sector management-labor disputes. While the five-member board rules on cases, the general counsel decides when to investigate and prosecute companies charged with unfair labor practices.

Acting general counsel Lafe Solomon has served since June 2010 without Senate confirmation, and is perhaps best known for filing a union-spurred complaint against Boeing Co.that was later dropped.

I’ll skip over the obvious Obi-wan Kenobi references and just point out that the joke is on the GOP here.  The Friday-night dump of this appointment has mainly kept it under the radar (although it had been rumored for a couple of weeks before that), but Senate Republicans will have to answer for a Griffin confirmation if Obama succeeds.  They stood on solid principle in denying Griffin a role in the NLRB after the unconstitutional power grab by Obama on recess appointments, and that should still be a line in the sand with Griffin and Block for any role in the administration, especially for one at the same agency with even more power to act.

That will mean using a filibuster threat to push Obama to withdraw the appointment, and a return to the brinksmanship of the past couple of months on confirmation votes.  Coincidentally or not, Democrats in the Senate are still talking about eliminating the filibuster for executive-branch appointments through a “nuclear option” rule change, even though their prospects for holding the upper chamber in 2015 are looking more and more dim.  The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber argues that Democrats should take the leap anyway, since it will be easier to elect Democratic Presidents in the future — and that they should take down the filibuster entirely, too:

Last month’s deal over Obama’s nominees came after a meeting among 98 senators in which, according to The New York Times, Democrats conceded “that their headlong drive to alter the rules may have been overly aggressive.” Many Senate Democrats seem genuinely alarmed by the idea of a filibuster-less existence should they lose their fragile majority.

But these fears are way overblown. Democrats would be in a stronger position if they went ahead and abolished the filibuster—not just for cabinet appointees and judges, but for legislation, too. That should strike fear in the hearts of Republicans and, at the very least, ensure that Democrats get their way when the GOP obstructs their nominees.

The basic reason for the Democratic advantage is that they’re likely to win the presidency a lot more often than Republicans over the next 20 to 30 years. The demographics are just relentlessly skewed against the GOP. As my colleague Nate Cohn has documented exhaustively, the growth of minority groups—especially Hispanics—means that the 2016 electorate will be as diverse as the 2012 electorate even if turnout among these groups drops back to its 2004 levels (that is, before the nation’s first black major-party nominee). And the trend lines only get worse for the GOP after 2016.

Scheiber later argues that just the nuclear threat should be enough to keep Republicans from actually using the filibuster on Obama’s appointees, or his legislative agenda.  Perhaps we’ll find out when Griffin’s nomination comes out of committee.

 


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A finger in the eye to Republicans.

That pretty much sums up the last 5 years. Oh, wait, you weren’t talking about RINOs were you?

faraway on August 7, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Finger right back atcha sport!

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on August 7, 2013 at 11:25 AM

He avoids Putin and turns his sights on to wussie GOP’ers…

PatriotRider on August 7, 2013 at 11:27 AM

What did the stupid party expect ?
All this while McLame and Linda are
off on their monthly tryst to the ME !

Lucano on August 7, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Lucy, football, Charlie Brown, etc etc…

Gatsu on August 7, 2013 at 11:29 AM

What is it with this administration and the same old retreads? No one ever leaves this administration, they only move sideways.

NotCoach on August 7, 2013 at 11:29 AM

The GOP: Obama’s bit@hes

dmann on August 7, 2013 at 11:30 AM

How soon they forget. I am old enough to remember when the filibuster was all that stood between George W. Bush and complete GOP hegemony.

myiq2xu on August 7, 2013 at 11:30 AM

The question here is if Demonrats will hold their part of the deal and vote against this nomination.

I guess that question probably come with a splatter guard warning in case anybody is drinking a beverage while reading. Once again the GOP thought that Lucy really was going to let them kick that football. Once again they failed to see the obvious.

Happy Nomad on August 7, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Scheiber later argues that just the nuclear threat should be enough to keep Republicans from actually using the filibuster on Obama’s appointees, or his legislative agenda.

What’s the point of keeping it then? Push them over the edge if you’re just going to let him get what he wants.

blammm on August 7, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Picture-perfect thug

Schadenfreude on August 7, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Hmmff!! Whateva Barry want, Barry get!!

hawkeye54 on August 7, 2013 at 11:32 AM

President Bystander, the post-partisan preezie.

petefrt on August 7, 2013 at 11:33 AM

The GOP: Obama’s bit@hes

dmann on August 7, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Remember that!!

hawkeye54 on August 7, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Let the Democrats pull the nuclear option so, when you win the Senate next election, you can stop Obama in his tracks and pass so much legislation from the House he’ll have to veto everything and look like the dividing obstructer he is.

bflat879 on August 7, 2013 at 11:34 AM

I am really tired of being on the losing team.

ctmom on August 7, 2013 at 11:35 AM

“But my good friend Schumie pwomised!”

-Senilator McLame

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on August 7, 2013 at 11:39 AM

bflat879 on August 7, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Sounds a hell of a lot better than watching Boehner and McConnell fight all the time over who gets to sit in Barry’s lap next.

onomo on August 7, 2013 at 11:40 AM

This is a perfect example of why Liberals/Progressives/Socialists are similar like rapists; you will get screwed no matter how often or how loudly you object. They will have their way with you and it matters not that you object.

This behavior is also what is likely to lead to the breakup of the country because conservatives won’t play the permanent victim to liberal rapes.

Charlemagne on August 7, 2013 at 11:41 AM

ctmom on August 7, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Citizens, the losing team no matter who they vote for.

Cindy Munford on August 7, 2013 at 11:42 AM

The next 20 to 30 years? Doubt we’ll have that much time if it continues like it is now…

sandee on August 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM

A finger in the eye to Republicans.

…the middle one!…and the GOP will just suck on it!

KOOLAID2 on August 7, 2013 at 11:46 AM

If the nomination isn’t withdrawn and the dems proceed with the nuclear option then the GOP has to simply shut down the Senate. Most routine business in the senate requires unanimous consent to proceed. A single senator can bring things to a halt by objecting and forcing a debate and a vote.
Sure, dems will win most of the procedural votes but there can be dozens of these every day and nothing else can happen until they are disposed of.
Sure, the Dems will scream about obstructionist republicans but they do that anyway. Republicans should respond with the truth about lying democrats who fail to keep their word.
I for one will feel safer if the Senate can’t do squat.

Curmudgeon on August 7, 2013 at 11:48 AM

O/T.
Nancy Mace is making the rounds. She’s now on Happening Now. Good for her to primary Lindsey Graham. I like her Constitutional bent. Patriot.

So much for the conservative war on women.

freedomfirst on August 7, 2013 at 11:49 AM

We can’t make ‘deals’ with this jackass of a president because he is not an honest man.

slickwillie2001 on August 7, 2013 at 11:51 AM

I am really tired of being on the losing team.

ctmom on August 7, 2013 at 11:35 AM

I know exactly what you mean…

PatriotRider on August 7, 2013 at 11:52 AM

The basic reason for the Democratic advantage is that they’re likely to win the presidency a lot more often than Republicans over the next 20 to 30 years. The demographics are just relentlessly skewed against the GOP. As my colleague Nate Cohn has documented exhaustively, the growth of minority groups—especially Hispanics—means that the 2016 electorate will be as diverse as the 2012 electorate even if turnout among these groups drops back to its 2004 levels (that is, before the nation’s first black major-party nominee). And the trend lines only get worse for the GOP after 2016.

I dunno.

Sounds about right except that the Hispanics are not static as far as their economic situation goes. They seem to be steadily improving their situation and I suspect that at some point they’re going to be a little resentful at having a larger and larger chunk of their earnings confiscated to fund those who don’t or won’t do likewise.

However, as sandee points out, 20 or 30 years? We’re more likely to see blood in the streets before that happens.

Cleombrotus on August 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Obama wants to deepen Gulf ports … in Charleston and Savannah

The ultimate combination of ignorance and arrogance.

Akzed on August 7, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Let ‘em impose a new filibuster rule. Look how people reacted to Her Highness Nancy Pelosi, FORMER House Speaker. Reid will be hanging himself and his party if he carries out the threat. Then Democrats will be wailing about the rule change.

GarandFan on August 7, 2013 at 12:03 PM

I hope they do pull the filibuster altogether. Let’s lay bare for all to see what that party, and what this President, are all about. It’s not like they won’t get what they want anyway, what with the GOP idiots in the Senate bending over at every opportunity.

For all the lefty clucking about Bush’s supposed abuse of powers, Obama has taken it to a whole new level. The dude should’ve been kicked off when his appt was ruled unconstitutional, but this admin ignored that, just like they ignored their own rules regarding ObamaCare. It’s astounding.

changer1701 on August 7, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Boehner and McConnell are so overmatched. And the codgers in the senate think Lee, Cruz and Paul are the problem.

DanMan on August 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM

I’ll skip over the obvious Obi-wan Kenobi references and just point out that the joke is on the GOP here.

No, it isn’t. The GOP doesn’t care – which is why they made this stupid deal with the devils to start with. Go back and read what commenters said about this idiotic move by the GOP … yet again … when they did it. The joke is on us.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on August 7, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Boehner and McConnell are so overmatched. And the codgers in the senate think Lee, Cruz and Paul are the problem.

But they ARE the problem. Boehner and McConnell have been cruising along comfortably in their gig and Lee, Cruz and Paul are rockin’ the boat!

hawkeye54 on August 7, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Obama wants to deepen Gulf ports … in Charleston and Savannah

The ultimate combination of ignorance and arrogance.

Akzed on August 7, 2013 at 12:02 PM

and 51 % of the voting public have no clue

doublee on August 7, 2013 at 12:29 PM

It was John McCain who committed the GOP Senate down this path – he was the one who broke ranks and ‘negotiated’ the deal with Pinky Reid to avoid the ‘nuclear option’ – and the one who, just like Neville Chamberlain, proclaimed ‘peace is at hand’ getting a promise from Reid / Obama that the controversial NLRB recess nominees would be replaced as long as the GOP approved the other controversial nominees (Dept Labor, EPA, and CFPB).

What astounds me the most is – this is hardly the first time (or first dozen) where Obama / Reid reneged on an agreement and lied to the GOP – so while the Lucy / Football analogies are right on the mark, there is something seriously wrong with those who keep doing the same thing (making an agreement with Obama / Reid) and expect different results (them honoring the agreement).

Athos on August 7, 2013 at 12:31 PM

The Stupid Party (Senate Division) does what it does best.
What shall we do with this Gang of Morons?

Another Drew on August 7, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Cleombrotus on August 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM

And they don’t like supporting Blacks – there is no love lost there, on either side.

Another Drew on August 7, 2013 at 12:40 PM

I am getting extremely tired of the GOP being “surprised” when Barack Obama does something that tells them they can all go f*** themselves.

It’s a ship of fools, captained by a dumb-ass who keeps trying to kiss and make up with Barack Scissorhands.

IndieDogg on August 7, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Obama wants to deepen Gulf ports … in Charleston and Savannah

The ultimate combination of ignorance and arrogance.

Akzed on August 7, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Yes.

You can tolerate ignorance.

And you can take arrogance.

But ignorance coupled with arrogance is unbearable.

petefrt on August 7, 2013 at 12:48 PM

On the bright side, this is a new opportunity for McConnell/GOP to practice their capitulation skills.

batter on August 7, 2013 at 12:51 PM

A finger in the eye?

No, this is the finger we’re getting….
.

Athos on August 7, 2013 at 12:53 PM

This is why we can’t stand the ‘moderate’ wing with their Gangs of 8 or 7 or whatever, because they always end up screwing us over in the end.

blue13326 on August 7, 2013 at 12:55 PM

I want to know if Griffin returned the salary he should not have been paid.

NateS on August 7, 2013 at 1:07 PM

I am getting extremely tired of the GOP being “surprised” when Barack Obama does something that tells them they can all go f*** themselves.

It’s a ship of fools, captained by a dumb-ass who keeps trying to kiss and make up with Barack Scissorhands.

IndieDogg on August 7, 2013 at 12:41 PM

And this is one of the major reasons I was opposed to the Senate immigration bill. Even before I knew any specifics about the bill, I knew that there was one major requirement: trust in the Obama administration. Anyone on the GOP side in Congress that would trust this administration for anything should seek immediate psychiatric help.

Chris of Rights on August 7, 2013 at 1:25 PM

He avoids Putin and turns his sights on to wussie GOP’ers…

PatriotRider on August 7, 2013 at 11:27 AM

The school bully rarely tries to shove the star quarterback.

CurtZHP on August 7, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Let the Democrats pull the nuclear option so, IF when you win the Senate next election, you can stop Obama in his tracks and pass so much legislation from the House he’ll have to veto everything and look like the dividing obstructer he is.

bflat879 on August 7, 2013 at 11:34 AM

There…all fixed up and shiny.

timberline on August 7, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Obama does have guts to use against Republicans. That is about the only think I admire in him – he’ll sock it to us and we take it. I know, Dems own the Senate but there is more than that – O wants total power and has no concerns about hurting anyone. And he has media coverage.

Very pathetic situation – I just hope Rs don’t cave on immigration and amnesty. If they do, what’s left?

When you break the law, you break the law. Letting people get excused for breaking the law tells them that no law matters. Once that happens, anarchy; then dictatorship. It’s really that simple.

MN J on August 7, 2013 at 1:48 PM

I laugh because it’s funny. No really–it’s funny.

SouthernGent on August 7, 2013 at 1:49 PM

I’ll bet that when he made that nomination, Obama was laughing and thinking, “Those Republicans! Suckers every day!”

A cardinal rule is that you never ever sign a contract or reach an agreement with someone you cannot trust. For Republican Congress-Critters, that should mean, never ever making a deal with any Democratic Congress-Critter.

Mdirmeie on August 7, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Alternate headlines:

- McShame Sold GOP Into Ocean
- Sun Rose in East
- Fire Discovered to be Hot

Steve Eggleston on August 7, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Any Senator can still put a hold on the nomination, and at least one should.

Adjoran on August 7, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Scheiber later argues that just the nuclear threat should be enough to keep Republicans from actually using the filibuster on Obama’s appointees, or his legislative agenda.

Republicans should never try to stop Obama, because if they try, he’ll take away their ability to try to stop him… that they’re never allowed to use anyway. Did I read that right? That’s kind of like… they can keep their car as long as they agree to never drive it.

CapnObvious on August 7, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Republicans allowed floor votes on Thomas Perez’ confirmation as Secretary of Labor and pledged to approve replacement NLRB commissioner appointments in trade for keeping Richard Griffin and Sharon Block out of the bureau.

Hey Republicans, surprise, surprise, the Democrats play to win and lying and cheating is business as usual.

The Lucy Democrats are holding the football for the Charlie Brown Republicans for the millionth time and the Republicans are again absolutely sure that Lucy won’t pull the football away this time.

RJL on August 7, 2013 at 8:28 PM

Long term, it would be a dream come true if the Dems go nuclear. After 2014, the Republican Party should have more than 50 senators for a long, long time. Once filibusters are eliminated for nominees, the Dems will be royally screwed.

And they won’t be able to complain about how it ended.

Pythagoras on August 7, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Scheiber later argues that just the nuclear threat should be enough to keep Republicans from actually using the filibuster on Obama’s appointees, or his legislative agenda.

Hell, a threat to the Republicans’ nightly milk and cookies is enough to make them wet their pants.

And they totally did not see this coming. Sheesh, what a bunch of dimwits.

ss396 on August 8, 2013 at 12:05 AM