Constitutional Status of Presidential Agencies.

The ques- tion of the legal status of the presidential agencies was dealt with judicially but once. This was in the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Employers Group v. National War Labor Board,149 which was a suit to annul and enjoin a “directive order” of the War Labor Board. The Court refused the injunction on the ground that the time when the directive was issued any action of the Board was “informatory,” “at most advisory.” In support of this view the Court quoted approvingly a statement by the chairman of the Board itself: “These orders are in reality mere declarations of the equities of each industrial dispute, as determined by a tripartite body in which industry, labor, and the public share equal responsibility; and the appeal of the Board is to the moral obligation of employers and workers to abide by the nonstrike, no-lock-out agreement and . . . to carry out the directives of the tribunal created under that agreement by the Commander in Chief.”150 Nor, the Court continued, had the later War Labor Disputes Act vested War Labor Board orders with any greater authority, with the result that they were still judicially unenforceable and unreviewable. Following this theory, the War Labor Board was not an office wielding power, but a purely advisory body, such as Presidents have frequently created in the past without the aid or consent of Congress. Congress itself, nevertheless, both in its appropriation acts and in other legislation, treated the presidential agencies as in all respects offices.151

Footnotes

149
143 F.2d 145 (D.C. Cir. 1944). [Back to text]
150
143 F.2d at 149. [Back to text]
151
E. Corwin, supra at 244, 245, 459. [Back to text]