“The NLRB now must play by the same rules as every other litigant in federal court.”
—John Masslon, WLF Senior Litigation Counsel

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Supreme Court today reversed a Sixth Circuit decision that gave the National Labor Relations Board most-favored-litigant status. This was welcome news for WLF, which filed an amicus brief urging the Court to require the NLRB to play by the same rules as other litigants when seeking preliminary injunctions. In other words, district courts must apply the same four-factor test that it uses for other preliminary-injunction motions when the NLRB seeks a preliminary injunction under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act.

As WLF’s brief showed, the Supreme Court frequently rejects special rules for special areas of the law. In bankruptcy, tax, and patent law, for example, the Court has consistently rejected exceptionalism and applied traditional legal rules. The Supreme Court continued this trend and applied the traditional four-part test for preliminary injunctions in NLRB cases in its decision today.

WLF’s brief also showed the absurdity of the Sixth Circuit’s rule. It essentially required only that, viewed in the light most favorable to the NLRB, the facts supported a non-frivolous legal theory. That bar was very low, especially for a government actor. It should not be the case that the only time the NLRB is denied preliminary injunctive relief is when its attorneys could face disciplinary proceedings. Yet that is the rule the Sixth Circuit applied. This rule led to increased costs and uncertainty for businesses, which hurt our national economy.  

Celebrating its 47th year, WLF is America’s premier public-interest law firm and policy center advocating for free-market principles, limited government, individual liberty, and the rule of law.