The ruling comes at a precarious time for the state of organized labor. Private-sector union membership, at 6.6 percent, is at its lowest point since 1919.
Potential CFPB Impact
The decision also could have consequences for the administration’s financial-regulatory agenda. On the same day that Obama made the NLRB appointments that were struck down Friday, he also installed Richard Cordray to serve as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray’s appointment has been challenged in a separate court case.
“This decision now casts serious doubt on whether the president’s ‘recess’ appointment of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau . . . is constitutional,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Carney disputed that assertion at the White House. “The decision that was put forward today has to do with one case, one company, one court,” he said. “It has no bearing on Richard Cordray.”
The CFPB, established by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law (PL 111-203), has produced a slew of new regulations over the past year, including some to overhaul the mortgage market. If Cordray’s appointment is ultimately struck down as well, those rules might be in jeopardy.
Before Obama’s appointment of Cordray, Senate Republicans had vowed to block any nominee to lead the bureau, absent major structural changes — something Democrats rejected. On Thursday, Obama re-nominated Cordray to serve as director for a full five-year term. Currently, Cordray’s recess appointment runs out at year’s end.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.