After a difficult dispute over some of President Obama’s nominees, the Senate confirmed five members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) this week.  The Senate voted to clear all five nominees–Harry Johnson III, Philip Miscimarra, Nancy Schiffer, Kent Hirozawa, and Mark Pearce.  On Tuesday, Hirozawa and Schiffer were confirmed on 54-44 votes, Pearce was reconfirmed on a 59-38 vote, and Johnson and Miscimarra were confirmed on voice-vote.

Republicans agreed to hold up-or-down votes on the NLRB nominees as part of a deal to avoid Senate rule changes limiting the minority’s right to filibuster executive branch nominations. Two of the NLRB nominees confirmed were Republican picks– Johnson and Miscimarra.  Schiffer, Hirozawa, and Pearce were nominated by President Obama.

As part of the agreement, Obama had to withdraw the NLRB nominations of Sharon Block and Richard Griffin. Block and Griffin were recess appointments to the labor board, but their appointments were ruled unconstitutional in federal court and drew fierce opposition from Republicans.  The Supreme Court has agreed to review the controversy surrounding the Block and Griffin appointments, but will not issue a decision until sometime in the first half of 2014.  In the meantime, it is uncertain as to whether any of the NLRB’s decisions or rules in which Block or Griffin participated are valid.

Democrats wanted to ensure vacancies on the board were filled before the August recess because on August 27, Pearce’s term as NLRB chairman was set to end, meaning the board would not have had a quorum to rule on decisions.  The new board will likely begin issuing cases in the next few months and rules within the year.