March 22, 2016
By Steven Wishnia
Washington ,DC – Judge Merrick Garland, nominated by President Barack Obama March 15 to succeed the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, has a reputation for judicial restraint and a generally favorable record on labor issues, characterized by deference to National Labor Relations Board decisions.
Garland, appointed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1997, has upheld the agency’s unfair-labor-practice findings in 18 of the 22 appeals where he wrote the majority opinion, and in one of the four where he went against the NLRB, he ordered the agency to reconsider its finding that a supermarket owner had not committed unfair practices. His dissents have also generally favored workers, such as a 2009 case where he suggested that FedEx Home Delivery drivers were employees, not independent contractors, and therefore the NLRB was right to call the company’s refusal to bargain with them unfair. While Senate Republicans have said they will not even consider confirming Garland, Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry praised him as “a good choice for working families” who “believes in the duty of government to protect regular Americans.” Read more