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Senators Bring New Twist to Nominations Battle

Miguel Estrada, a lawyer keenly familiar with nominations battles in the Senate, is partnering with Senate Republicans to challenge President Obama’s unilateral appointments made earlier this year. President Obama defied the Senate by appointing Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as three new Board Members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  While Presidents may “recess appoint” officials when Congress is out of session, Senate Republicans noted that the Senate was not technically in recess and cried foul.

On behalf of Senate Republicans, Estrada will file an amicus brief in Noel Canning v. NLRB, in which a local Washington State soft drink company is challenging a NLRB ruling that it must enter into a collective bargaining agreement with a labor union.  The authority of the NLRB Commissioners controversially appointed will be at issue in the case.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declared:

The President’s decision to circumvent the American people by installing his appointees at a powerful federal agency, when the Senate was not in recess, and without obtaining the advice and consent of the Senate, is an unprecedented power grab. We will demonstrate to the Court how the President’s unconstitutional actions fundamentally endanger the Congress’s role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch….  we are gratified that [Miguel Estrada] will defend the Senate’s constitutional role in the confirmation process.

Estrada, formerly in the U.S. Solicitor General’s office, was a 2001 Bush nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is often regarded as a potential stepping stone towards the U.S. Supreme Court.  Estrada’s nomination was filibustered to death by Senate Democrats after a prolonged and fiery battle.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations