Arguing a Labor Case - Research Your Judge
In chapter eight of Labor Law Stories, "The Story of Electromation: Are Employee Participation Programs a Competitive Necessity or a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?" Robert B. Moberly recounts a story of an appellate oral argument that will motivate all of us not to let the task of researching the judge before whom we are appearing slide, even when working on a tight deadline.
Electromation is a case dealing with whether and under what conditions an employer may establish employee participation committees without violating the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act after its sponsor in the Senate. Electromation v. NLRB, 35 F.3d 1148 (7th Cir. 1994).
Moberly describes the oral argument in front of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Electromation's petition to set aside the Board's order in the case. The tale is that during the argument Electromation's attorney argued that the Board's decision "was not the way Senator Wagner wanted the Act to be interpreted." Unfortunately for the attorney, Judge Hubert L. Will, who would author the court's decision in the case, had the inside scoop. He responded, "‘young man, I was on Senator Wagner's staff, and that is exactly the way he intended the Act to be interpreted."