In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared that decisions issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) since January 2008, when it was left with just two of five full-board members, are non-binding.

Due to gridlock between a Democratic-Party-controlled Congress and a Republican-Party-controlled executive branch under President Bush in his final two years, the NLRB was reduced to two sitting board members after three other members’ terms expired.

President Obama recently made two recess appointments to the NLRB, including the incendiary pro-laborite Craig Becker, bringing the total to four members, three of them Democrats.

The term of lone Republican Peter C. Schaumber will expire this August, but tradition holds that three members of the board should represent the party holding the White House, with the other two coming from the opposition.

In its 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court noted that "Congress’ decision to require that the Board’s full power be delegated to no fewer than three members, and to provide for a Board quorum of three, must be given practical effect rather than be swept aside in the face of admittedly difficult circumstances.”

Current board Chairman Wilma B. Liebman reacted to the court’s decision with this statement:

“In proceeding to issue decisions in nearly 600 cases where we were able to reach agreement, we brought finality to labor disputes and remedies to individuals whose rights under our statute may have been violated.  We believed that our position was legally correct and that it served the public interest in preventing a Board shut-down. We are of course disappointed with the outcome, but we will now do our best to rectify the situation in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision.”