The faculty of Lemoyne-Owen College (LOC) (plaintiff) formed a union. The faculty then petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (defendant) to recognize the union as the faculty's vehicle for bargaining with LOC management over various matters. LOC opposed the petition on the grounds that the faculty itself was part of LOC's management. In support of its position, LOC cited numerous previous cases in which faculties were denied union recognition, most of which were cases decided by the NLRB itself. Instead of following the precedent set by those cases, the NLRB relied on a few previous cases in which the NLRB had granted union recognition to faculties. The NLRB did not explain why it followed the precedent set by those cases and not the precedent set by the more numerous cases cited by LOC. LOC appealed the NLRB's decision to the United States Circuit Court for the District of Columbia.