Jonathan Chait certainly thinks so:
Unlike the last time Democrats threatened to change the Senate rules, and backed down without winning anything, this time they won something important: They broke Senate Republicans’ ability to hold presidential appointments hostage. It’s a total victory for the Democrats.
In fact, Chait says the bottom line is this:
Democrats had proposed to change the Senate’s rules to prevent filibusters on executive branch nominations (but not to ban filibusters of legislation or judicial nominees). They’ve won.
Republicans got one face-saving concession: Democrats have to pick new names for the NLRB. This became an issue because Obama tried to execute an end-run around Congress by appointing them to their positions when Congress was functionally, though not technically, in recess, and was struck down by the Republican-controlled D.C. circuit court.
You can obviously tell which side Chait comes down on if you didn’t know before. The D.C. circuit court struck it down not because it is “Republican-controlled” but because the appointments were Constitutionally illegal. By the way, so did the Third circuit court.
But it leaves us with a very interesting question. If the Democrats agreed to have two new appointments made to the NLRB, aren’t they at least tacitly admitting the current two appointments are illegal? And if so, what does that make any rulings the current NLRB made during that time it was illegally constituted? Common sense says those rulings should be invalidated, don’t you think? And that’s what Cablevision is still asking. It was one of the companies this illegally constituted board issued a ruling against:
“The role of Congress is to ensure a balanced NLRB and the Obama Administration bypassed Congress in order to stack the NLRB in favor of Big Labor. Two different federal courts — the D.C. Circuit and the Third Circuit — have established that the NLRB is illegally constituted and has no authority to take action. The NLRB continues to ignore these rulings, and we ask the Supreme Court to compel the NLRB to immediately halt its unlawful proceedings against Cablevision.”
Will anyone address this? Will anyone actually take action to annul these rulings from an illegally constituted board? Or, as usual, will we see it ignored, the injustice shrugged off and the usual lack of accountability further enshrined in our political culture?