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Graham, Scott File Amicus Brief with Supreme Court in Support of Port of Charleston, Leatherman Terminal Jobs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) today filed an amicus brief asking the United States Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that negatively impacts operations and jobs at the Port of Charleston’s Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal.

The South Carolina Ports have long-operated under a balanced approach, where nearly 2,000 union laborers work alongside approximately 270 state workers.  Following the opening of the state-of-the-art Leatherman Terminal in 2021, the dockworkers union staged a boycott of the terminal because it uses state-employed crane operators, even though state employees have operated the cranes for decades at the Port of Charleston. 

Federal law bans this kind of anticompetitive boycott.  Defying the plain text of the law, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in favor of the dockworkers’ union, allowing the boycott to continue.  That ruling was upheld by the Fourth Circuit.  As a result, the Leatherman Terminal sits largely idle.

Senators Graham and Scott are urging the Supreme Court to take-up a review of what they consider a radical overstep by the NLRB.  Graham and Scott support the longstanding and balanced labor operations at the South Carolina Ports, allowing the economic engine of the state to flourish.

As their Supreme Court Brief explains, the NLRB and the Fourth Circuit decisions undermine the purpose behind Congress prohibiting secondary boycotts.  The Senators are encouraging the Supreme Court to grant review to vindicate the plain meaning of the National Labor Relations Act as well as alleviate the economic harm done to South Carolina by the NLRB and Fourth Circuit decisions.

The NLRB’s ruling puts at risk the estimated 270 jobs of state-employed lift operators.  Supreme Court review is critical to protect these jobs and protect the $1.5 billion Leatherman Terminal. 

“There is no doubting this case’s importance,” wrote Graham and Scott.  “It is important for the people of South Carolina.  It is important to ensure consistent application of the law nationwide.  And it is important to vindicate the federal constitutional structure, so that the People remain governed by a nation of laws, rather than ruled by administrative fiat.”  

A copy of the brief is available HERE.