The Supreme Court today dealt a blow to the Obama administration, ruling against the government in a high-stakes case challenging when a nominee for a vacant post may serve temporarily in the job.
Justices issued a 6-2 opinion finding that the president cannot select a person who has been nominated to serve in the position on a permanent basis to also serve as an acting official. The decision upheld a lower court's finding that Lafe Solomon, former acting general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board, served illegally after his 2011 nomination for the post.
The Obama administration had warned that the Supreme Court's decision in the case could upend the "settled understanding" of who can serve in acting roles throughout the government.
According to the Justice Department, dozens of past and current officials — including EPA Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg — could be found to have served illegally (Greenwire, Aug. 31, 2016).