“Normal” presidential powers.

“Normal” presidential powers.

“Normal” presidential powers.

There have been disagreements between the Supreme Court and other parts of the federal government that have changed how they are supposed to work. Since 1803, the Court has been using this power to figure out what the Constitution means. This gives it the power to overturn decisions made by the other two parts of the government. More often than not, Congress wins out over the President, but it is still possible. The Court will soon decide whether or not to do it again in a case that could have big effects on President Obama and the people who come after him.

The Supreme Court’s decision in 1952 that President Harry Truman didn’t have the right to take control of the country’s steel mills to keep them running during a labour dispute during the Korean War is probably the most well-known time it ruled against a President. The last President whose plans were stopped by the Court was George W. Bush. In 2006, a ruling overturned Bush’s order to set up military tribunals to hear cases of terrorism and war crimes. As these two examples show, different historical events can lead to different claims to political power, which shows that there is a lot at stake. But they can also start with everyday things that are interesting to the people involved and give no hint that history is about to be made.

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning is a case that will be heard by the Supreme Court later this year. At first, the case seemed ordinary, but now it has become very important. In December 2010, Noel Canning and Teamsters Union Local 760 couldn’t agree on how to implement a 40-cent-per-hour wage increase that they had both agreed to as part of a new union contract. The union said that Noel Canning’s management had broken their contract, so they went to the National Labor Relations Board. In the end, the Board decided that the company had used unfair labour practices because federal labour law said that all agreements had to be written down.

Congress set up the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in 1935 to help keep the peace at work by getting employers and unions to talk about wages and other benefits for their workers. After a string of constitutional failures in the Court, business groups were against making the Board and questioned whether it was legal. But in 1937, the Supreme Court upheld the law, which was a huge win for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the “New Deal” Congress.

The Board makes decisions about tens of thousands of cases, like the Noel Canning case. Even though many labour unions have lost members and bargaining power, the Board has stayed an important ally for them all over the country. However, many corporate executives have long regarded the Board as being overly pro-union. The Board has a complicated set of steps that start with regional Board officials and end with a five-person Board making the final decisions. The agency has a long history of delegating authority to three of its members so that they can make a decision.


Sophia Amelia is the New York Times Bestselling Author. Writing stories to inspire young minds. Celebrating the power of words & imagination through my books. Join me on my journey to creating stories that will capture your imagination and captivate your heart.

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