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SpaceX lawsuit claims NLRB's structure violates Constitution

Elon Musk's Space X is challenging the authority of the National Labor Relations Board in a new lawsuit. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Elon Musk's Space X is challenging the authority of the National Labor Relations Board in a new lawsuit. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- SpaceX sued to challenge the National Labor Relation Board's ability to regulate the company after the agency filed a complaint over CEO Elon Musk's firing practices.

In the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Texas, SpaceX, which has found itself in hot water with the NLRB before, for complaints against it to be dismissed and for the right to have a jury trial for any further claims.

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"This action stems from an unlawful attempt by the National Labor Relations Board to subject SpaceX to an administrative proceeding whose structure violates Article II, the Fifth Amendment, and the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution of the United States," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit alleges that the agency's structure is unconstitutional because its president can only remove board members and administrative judges and not other employees.

"The existence of unconstitutional removal protections inflicts twofold harm. It limits the president's constitutional authority, of course," the lawsuit states. "But it also produces an administrative bureaucracy that operates on regulated parties without the constitutionally required 'degree of electoral accountability.'"

It adds that the "NLRB's current way of functioning is miles away from the traditional understanding of the separation of powers."

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The lawsuit leans on another case, Jarkesy vs. Securities and Exchange Commission, expected to be heard by the Supreme Court, arguing that companies facing civil cases have the right to jury trials and the administrative law judges with the NLRB are performing actions meant for another government branch, in violation of the Constitution.

"Like SEC [administrative law judges], NLRB's ALJs are covered by two layers of removal protection, which insulate them from oversight by the president," the lawsuit said.

"So, like the SEC ALJs in Jarkesy, NLRB ALJs are unconstitutionally insulated from the president's oversight and the court should declare that the NLRB's ALJ's having two layers of removal protection is unconstitutional."

The filing came a day after the board accused SpaceX of offering eight employees after the workers demanded that the space company apply harassment policies more consistently along with pushing back against Musk who belittled harassment charges against him.

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