Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. Lockyer, et al.

Federal Preemption of California Labor Law

U.S. Chamber's Position

NCLC challenged a California law prohibiting employers who receive more than $10,000 in state funds annually from using those funds ”to assist, promote, or deter union organizing.” NCLC argued that the law was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Case Outcome

A federal district court ruled in September 2002 that certain provisions of the California law were preempted by the NLRA; a three judge appeals court panel unanimously agreed in April 2004; the panel again supported preemption in a 2-1 ruling in September 2005, but was reversed by the full Ninth Circuit in September 2006.

Subsequently, NCLC petitioned for U.S. Supreme Court review of the decision. In 2008, the Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit and held that the NLRA preempted the California law. The case was captioned Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. Brown, Jr., et al.
 

Procedural History

Complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief filed 4/10/02. Decided by district court 9/16/02. Appeal filed 1/10/03. Chamber’s brief filed 5/23/03. NLRB amicus brief supporting the Chamber’s position filed 6/4/03. Decided 4/20/04. Petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc filed by appellants 5/18/04. Chamber’s answer to petition for rehearing filed 6/30/04. Order issued 5/13/05 granting appellants’ petition for a rehearing by the panel without oral argument and withdrawing the 4/20/05 decision. Decided 9/6/05. Court sua sponte called for en banc review 9/16/05. Responses from parties filed 10/25/05. Decided 9/21/06. Motion for stay filed 10/5/06. Order granting stay of mandate filed 11/20/06. Mandate issued 10/6/08.

Case Documents