NLRB Takes Unconstitutional Stance on Boeing's Expansion

Article excerpt


The most provocative and potentially most dangerous economic policy initiative of the Obama administration is only now beginning to attract coverage - its proposal to shut down Boeing's second 787 Dreamliner plant in right-to-work South Carolina in midstream (after hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent) in order to confine Boeing's new airplane construction to a union state (Washington).

There is much convincing analysis that the National Labor Relations Board has no authority or precedent for doing this. What needs to be examined is whether the move in fact is not also unconstitutional as a frontal assault on a central building block of our national economy.

When most people think of the commerce clause of the Constitution, they think of how much power it authorizes Congress to legislate over the American economy. Does it, to take a current example, support the individual mandate in the Obama health care legislation? Most people do not think about an equally important but little (publicly) understood aspect - namely, the dormant (or negative ) commerce clause. This is the part of the Constitution most responsible for our vibrant economy.

This central pillar of our economic system was developed early in our history by Chief Justice John Marshall. The great British historian Paul Johnson has observed that Marshall's rulings formed a firm legal basis on which entrepreneurial capitalism could flourish mightily. There has been nothing to rival [this..] in the entire world history of jurisprudence - countless millions of ordinary American enjoy affluent today because of Marshall His rulings established that, even in the absence of federal legislation banning state interference with the internal market of the U.S., the commerce clause itself prohibits state interference with the free flow of commerce.

What relevance does this doctrine have in the current Boeing controversy? What the Obama administration is asserting is that, even though Boeing has added jobs to the initial Dreamliner production line in Washington state and its union agreement there allows for new investment elsewhere, it cannot expand production in a second line in South Carolina - because that would be a violation of the labor laws as an unfair labor activity against the union in Washington. …