Washington, D.C.—The National Labor Relations Board today rejected a challenge regarding the appointment of its administrative law judges ("ALJs"), concluding that all of the Board’s ALJs have been validly appointed under the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution.
On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Lucia v. SEC, 585 U.S. ___, 138 S. Ct. 2044 (2018), finding that administrative law judges of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) are inferior officers of the United States and thus must be appointed in accordance with the Appointments Clause, i.e., by the President, the courts, or the Head of Department. Id. at 2051. Unlike the SEC’s ALJs, the NLRB’s ALJs are appointed by the full Board as the “Head of Department” and not by other Agency staff members.
The challenge was raised by WestRock Services, Inc. (“WestRock”) in Case 10-CA-195617 on a motion to dismiss. Chairman John F. Ring was joined by Members Mark Gaston Pearce, Lauren McFerran, Marvin E. Kaplan and William J. Emanuel in the order denying WestRock’s motion.