Lechmere, Inc. v. NLRB, 502 U.S. 527, 21 (1992)

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Cite as: 502 U. S. 527 (1992)

White, J., dissenting

does not require the reading the Court gives it today, and in any event later cases have put a gloss on Babcock that the Court should recognize.

Finally, the majority commits a concluding error in its application of the outdated standard of Babcock to review the Board's conclusion that there were no reasonable alternative means available to the union. Unless the Court today proposes to turn back time in the law of judicial deference to administrative agencies, the proper standard for judicial review of the Board's rulings is no longer for " 'erroneous legal foundations,' " ante, at 539, but for rationality and consistency with the statute. Litton Financial Printing Div. v. NLRB, 501 U. S. 190 (1991); NLRB v. Curtin Matheson Scientific, Inc., supra; Fall River Dyeing & Finishing Corp. v. NLRB, 482 U. S. 27, 42 (1987); NLRB v. Financial Institution Employees, 475 U. S. 192, 202 (1986); Beth Israel Hospital, 437 U. S., at 501. "The judicial role is narrow: . . . the Board's application of the rule, if supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole, must be enforced." Ibid. The Board's conclusion as to reasonable alternatives in this case was supported by evidence in the record. Even if the majority cannot defer to that application, because of the depth of its objections to the rule applied by the Board, it should remand to the Board for a decision under the rule it arrives at today, rather than sitting in the place Congress has assigned to the Board.

The more basic legal error of the majority today, like that of the Court of Appeals in Chevron, is to adopt a static judicial construction of the statute when Congress has not commanded that construction. Cf. 467 U. S., at 842. By leaving open the question of how 7 and private property rights were to be accommodated under the NLRA, Congress delegated authority over that issue to the Board, and a court should not substitute its own judgment for a reasonable construction by the Board. Cf. id., at 844.


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