In an interesting move Wednesday, President Obama notified the U.S. Senate that he was withdrawing the nomination of Sharon Block to the NLRB. In her place, the President nominated Lauren McGarity McFerran.
Ms. Block’s nomination cleared the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on an essentially party-line vote earlier this year. The nomination of Ms. Block generated controversy as she was one of the individuals whose nomination the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in the Noel Canning case.
Ms. McFerran’s current post is as Deputy Staff Director to the HELP Committee. Prior to that, Ms. McFerran held a different staff position with the HELP Committee. She also practiced law for about three years at a Washington, D.C. firm known for its representation of unions and employees.
Unless the Senate acts quickly on the nomination, the President’s action means that the new Senate could take up the nomination. If so, the hearings that will be conducted by the incoming Republican majority may provide an opportunity to raise concerns the employer community has about NLRB decisions over the last few years. Even if she is not quickly confirmed, however, no “shutdown” of the NLRB is imminent. Four other members, confirmed by the Senate, continue to serve their terms on the NLRB.