Check out these scathing words from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Heartland Plymouth Court MI v. NLRB [pdf], in which the appellate court ordered the NLRB to pay the employer’s $17,649 in legal fees for the Board’s bad faith litigation by continuing to pursue a case that the NLRB knew it could not win. Why? Because the NLRB’s position ran counter to the law of every single appellate court.
Facts may be stubborn things, but the Board’s longstanding “nonacquiescence” towards the law of any circuit diverging from the Board’s preferred national labor policy takes obduracy to a new level. As this case shows, what the Board proffers as a sophisticated tool towards national uniformity can just as easily be an instrument of oppression, allowing the government to tell its citizens: “We don’t care what the law says, if you want to beat us, you will have to fight us.” …
We recognize the Board’s unimpeded access to the public fisc means these modest fees can be dismissed as chump change. But money does not explain the Board’s bad faith; “the pleasure of being above the rest” does. Let the word go forth: for however much the judiciary has emboldened the administrative state, we “say what the law is.” In other words, administrative hubris does not get the last word under our Constitution. And citizens can count on it.
Bravo, D.C. Circuit, bravo.