Out at recess


Republican senators unanimously urged President Barack Obama last week not to use an Easter recess appointment to name a union lawyer to the National Labor Relations Board.

They worry Craig Becker, who has been a top lawyer for the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO, would use the position to do an end-run around the reluctance of Congress to enact a "card-check" law, enacting by regulatory fiat sections of a proposal designed to allow labor unions to bypass secret-ballot workplace elections.

"His writings clearly indicate that he would use his position on the NLRB to institute far-reaching changes in labor law far exceeding the board's authority and bypassing the role of Congress," they wrote.

The GOP, led by Arizona Sen. John McCain, has blocked Mr. Becker's confirmation for months. Democrats could not muster 60 votes last month to move it forward.

Appointing him during a Senate recess would allow Mr. Becker to serve through next year without the Senate's OK.

Recess appointments are perfectly legal -- George W. Bush used the tactic numerous times. But the question here is not merely procedural; it's substantive.

In past writings, Mr. Becker reveals himself as a radical collectivist who questions the sanctity of private property, rails against "individualism" and argues that unions are necessary in order to combat the evils of "competition and contract."

At a time when the president should be bending over backward to reassure the nation's employers that he's not some Marxist out to further punish them, appointing a character of Mr. Becker's background is like handing the NLRB a pistol and saying, "Put them out of their misery."

The appointment would be reckless.