Lawsuit raises new challenge to Trump’s civil service executive orders

A chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) representing U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employees in Buffalo, New York, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York on August 13, 2019, arguing that President Donald Trump’s (R) three civil service executive orders exceed the president’s constitutional authority and violate the Civil Service Reform Act.
 
President Trump issued the civil service executive orders (E.O. 13837, E.O. 13836, and E.O.13839) in May 2018. The orders include proposals aimed at facilitating the removal of poor-performing federal employees and streamlining collective bargaining procedures.
 
The lawsuit follows a July 16 decision by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that unanimously reversed and vacated a lower court decision blocking provisions of the executive orders. The judges held that the lower court did not have jurisdiction and that the plaintiffs—a coalition of union groups—should have brought the case before the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) as required by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS).
 
The new lawsuit claims that the district court has jurisdiction over the case in part because FLRA has lacked a general counsel for almost two years—preventing the agency from hearing unfair labor practice complaints.
 
The [[United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit]] has appellate jurisdiction over the [[United States District Court for the Western District of New York]]. As such, the D.C. Circuit’s July decision upholding the civil service executive orders is not controlling on the case.
 



About the author

Caitlin Styrsky

Caitlin Styrsky is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at caitlin.styrsky@ballotpedia.org

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