Ultra vires. No, it’s not some dangerous infectious disease like Ebola. But, in a democracy it signals one of the most dangerous trends that threaten to disturb the delicate balance of powers crafted by our founding fathers.
“Ultra vires” is another of those Latin expressions lawyers use so frequently in lieu of plain English. It means “beyond the authority.” And, in this administration, there are all too many examples of federal agencies that have acted or attempted to act beyond the authority Congress has given them.
The NLRB’s proposed new rule for expedited union elections is just the latest example. The 733-page rule was finalized in December and will take effect on April 14. NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce said the rule is designed to ensure that the “representation process remains a model of fairness and efficiency for all.” The board’s two Republican members voted against it, calling it “the Mount Everest of regulations: massive in scale and unforgiving in its effect.”