Scalia's Gift To Public Unions

As a member of our nation's highest court, Justice Antonin Scalia was a champion of so-called Conservative values. With his passing, however, the Justice's absence has led to liberal groups declaring victory on a number of cases.

Since his death in February, cases about the EPA, Texas abortion restrictions, and class action lawsuits have all gone differently than they probably would have if Justice Scalia was still on the bench. And last week, his absence was a major factor in the Court's split decision on public sector unions.

Back in January, Justice Scalia made clear his views on so-called “fair share fees.” Those fees, also known as agency fees, help cover the legal costs of representing all workers in a union shop, even when some choose not to become a member of that union.

Current law requires unions to negotiate on behalf of everyone in a workplace, and the agency fees, which are less than regular dues, make sure that the non-union workers aren't getting a free ride. However, Scalia appeared to side with the argument that those fees represent forced political speech because they subsidize collective bargaining.

Back in January during oral arguments, he said, “The problem is that everything that is bargained for with the government is within the political sphere, almost by definition.” But, thanks to his passing, the Supreme Court just issued a split 4-to-4 decision, which means the lower-court ruling protecting unions stays in place for the time being.

The case will likely wind up back before the court in the future, but for now, our public unions will have the power to fight another day. And, if the U.S. Senate stops refusing to do their job, President Obama could appoint a new Justice who isn't opposed to our vital labor unions.

In the meantime, let's celebrate these small victories from our nation's highest, divided court and continue to push the Senate to consider Obama's nominee.

Comments

ckrob's picture
ckrob 6 years 26 weeks ago
#1

Along with the Trump abortion brouhaha, Utah just instituted a statute requiring abortions to be performed with anesthesia. Should we note the unnecessary dangers to the women involved?

RFord's picture
RFord 6 years 25 weeks ago
#2

It may be a blessing in disguise if President Obama's SCOTUS nominee is not confirmed or if the Senate refuses to act on his nominations this year because if Senator Sanders becomes President, he will appoint someone a lot more liberal than the President's appointee. We may not get any great decisions from 4-4 SCOTUS decisions but we won't get any real bad decisions either. If Hillary becomes president, she may ask that President Obama's left leaning middle of the road appointee be confirmed which would still be better than a Republican President's far left appointee would be.

As for the public sector unions, I'm glad they can still collect what's fair from all of the people they represent in this case. People that have union negotiated wages and benefits but don't want to join the union or pay dues are either greedy, stingy, or stupid. They probably wouldn't have wanted the job in the first place if it wasn't for the union because without the union having been in place, the pay and benefits for the job would not have been very attractive. I understand that republican darling. Joe The (not really a licensed) Plumber now has a union job, no not a plumbing job (as he never was much of a plumber or he would still be one), but Joe is now a member of the UAW, working for Chrysler. He says he had to join the union to get the job. He didn't have to take the job but he did. Maybe it was the good wages and benefits that the UAW brought to the job that attracted Joe to the job.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 6 years 25 weeks ago
#3

I think the Supreme Court is right where it should be. Four and four, or five and five. But not nine. Each party can appoint their share as need dictates to keep it forever " fair and balanced." Unions should be left alone. It's not the government's place to interfere. Reagan was right when he said. " Government is the problem."

Janette B's picture
Janette B 6 years 25 weeks ago
#4

I am certainly as tired of a highly politicized and partisan Court as I am the obstructionists in Congress.

However, the justices can see growing political anger & the political upsets n primary elections across this country. That anger, that began with the appointment of an unelected Bush in 2000 & grew through the Occupy Movement, continues in the successes of the Sanders Campaign. The resulting atmosphere of public intolerance will, I think, have great influence, even on the SUpreme Court, to not play fast & loose with laws that affect our abilities for livlihood.

T. Jefferson's desired every-6th-year revolution may be late; but it is happening.

Janette B's picture
Janette B 6 years 25 weeks ago
#5

I am certainly as tired of a highly politicized and partisan Court as I am the obstructionists in Congress.

However, the justices can see growing political anger & the political upsets n primary elections across this country. That anger, that began with the appointment of an unelected Bush in 2000 & grew through the Occupy Movement, continues in the successes of the Sanders Campaign. The resulting atmosphere of public intolerance will, I think, have great influence, even on the Supreme Court to not play fast & loose with laws that affect our abilities for livlihood.

T. Jefferson's desired every-6th-year revolution may be late; but it is happening.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 25 weeks ago
#6

The billionaire's Teapublic Party will block anything and everything related to the to the "forced" distribution of wealth via fair wages. Hell, they even want to get rid of Social Security, the very income that most of the Teapublic Party voters live on........ and these Teabaggers for some reason , probably because of hours and hours of Fox News viewing, still vote for the billionaire's clown posse.

What is it about about righties and their desire that 99% of all wealth be in the hands of a few elites? What's up with that conservatives? Have you gone completely MEDIEVAL MAD?

So if our so called representative government refuses to legislate against greed, that leaves only one option to carry out the will of the vast majority ....UNIONS!

Any worker that complains about union dues needs to pull out a book on the history of labor in this country. Unions happened, not because workers desired what wasn't theirs, they simply desired the dignity of being treated like a human being....that instead of a god damn mule.

"We know that those who produce the most- that is those who work the hardest, and at the most menial tasks, have the least." Eugene V Debs

rladlof's picture
rladlof 6 years 25 weeks ago
#7

It is highly likely that I will thank the lifeless body of Antonin Scalia every day for the rest of my life for him dying.

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