Pres. Obama’s Supreme Court Justice Nomination is a YES for Employees

On Wednesday, March 16, President Obama announced The Honorable Merrick B. Garland, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.  Judge Garland has almost two decades of federal judiciary experience.  He oversaw the prosecutions of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols for the Oklahoma City bombing and as a government attorney, he developed policies that require prosecutors to conduct individual assessments of each case for charging decisions.  He is described as a jurist that decides every case based on what the law requires.

Many experts believe this appointment will benefit employees because of Judge Garland’s deference to agencies, such as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  Judge Garland’s inclination to defer to agency decisions is important because the NLRB, Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), have made decisions that are concerning to many employers.  Employers should focus on standing and agency deference.

Justice Scalia’s death had an immediate impact on labor and employment cases because his vote would have been a tie-breaker.  However, Judge Garland’s vote for future decisions can be predicted as a tie-breaker also.  Yet, if employers were wanting someone with similar views to Scalia they should not be counting on Judge Garland.  Judge Garland is more aligned with the liberal justices of the court, especially on employment issues.  Employers beware, Judge Garland may lean towards plaintiffs and labor.  He’s not one for broad decisions and believes in uncovering and enforcing Congress’ legislative intent.