NASA v. FLRA, 527 U.S. 229, 3 (1999)

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Cite as: 527 U. S. 229 (1999)

Opinion of the Court

David C. Frederick argued the cause for petitioners. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Waxman, Assistant Attorney General Hunger, Deputy Solicitor General Underwood, William Kanter, and Howard S. Scher.

David M. Smith argued the cause for respondent Federal Labor Relations Authority. With him on the brief was Ann M. Boehm. Stuart A. Kirsch argued the cause for respondent American Federation of Government Employees, AFL- CIO. With him on the brief were Mark D. Roth, Jonathan P. Hiatt, James B. Coppess, and Laurence Gold.*

Justice Stevens delivered the opinion of the Court. On October 12, 1978, Congress enacted the Inspector General Act (IGA), 5 U. S. C. App. 1 et seq., p. 1381, which created an Office of Inspector General (OIG) in each of several federal agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The following day, Congress enacted the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS), 5 U. S. C. 7101 et seq., which provides certain protections, including union representation, to a variety of federal employees. The question presented by this case is whether an investigator employed in NASA's Office of Inspector General (NASA-OIG) can be considered a "representative" of NASA when examining a NASA employee, such that the right to union representation in the FSLMRS may be invoked. 7114(a)(2)(B). Although certain arguments of policy may support a negative answer to that question, the plain text of the two statutes, buttressed by administrative deference and Congress' countervailing policy concerns, dictates an affirmative answer.

I

In January 1993, in response to information supplied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), NASA's OIG con*Gregory O'Duden and Barbara A. Atkin filed a brief for the National Treasury Employees Union as amicus curiae urging affirmance.

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