June 30th, 2014

More SCOTUS: public sector union dues

In another ruling today, SCOTUS held 5-4 that public sector unions cannot compel dues from non-members who are not “full-fledged” public service workers.

More here:

Union leaders had feared that the justices might strike down those state laws [requiring public service workers who are not union members to pay dues anyway] as unconstitutional. The justices did not go that far. They issued a more narrow ruling that the home health care workers at issue in the case are not “full-fledged public employees” because they are hired and fired by individual patients and work in private homes, though they are paid in part by the state, via Medicaid.

Because they’re not truly state employees, the justices decided these workers did not have to pay union dues…

…[I]n writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito sharply criticized a 1977 precedent, known as Abood, that granted states the right to compel union dues. Alito called that ruling “questionable” and “anomalous,” all but inviting a further challenge in the future. He was joined in his opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy.

Alito cited a “bedrock principle that, except perhaps in the rarest of circumstances, no person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support.”

Seems pretty obvious to me. But it’s not the least bit obvious to the liberal justices. And if it were struck down it would toll the death knell for public service unions, and the unions know it.

Anyone who still doesn’t understand how important it is to elect a Republican president in 2016, please realize that rulings on cases of this sort would go very differently if one of the conservative justices on the Court (Scalia, who is 78, for example, or even swing vote Kennedy, who is 77) retires and a Democrat gets to choose his successor. In other words, a Democratic president in 2016 could easily turn the Supreme Court into a reliably and consistently liberal institution, marginalizing the remaining conservative justices entirely.

And saying it doesn’t matter who appoints justices because Roberts (appointed by Bush II) sometimes votes with the liberals, and Kennedy (appointed by Reagan) votes with liberals about half the time, is hardly the point, because (a) judges appointed by Democratic presidents will always vote with the liberals, as opposed to just sometimes; (b) three out of the five justices appointed by Republican presidents vote very consistently conservative; and (c) the oldest justice, Ginsburg (who is 81), is most likely the one to retire soon, and if she holds out till after Obama’s term his successor will be appointing her replacement, giving a Republican president the opportunity to make the Court quite consistently conservative.

In other words, the next president could determine the direction of the Court for the next decade or more. And that’s just the Supreme Court; the same is true for other federal courts, because a president gets to make such appointments during his/her term of office, too.

This is enormously important in helping shape the country’s direction in a wide variety of ways. Plus, although a more conservative Court cannot by itself stop a tyrant who is intent on grabbing more power from doing so, it can certainly do its bit to help or to hurt.

Remember back in Obama’s first term, when he acted on Honduras to support Zeleya’s power grab and block his removal? Most people were not paying much attention, but it was highly significant. Time to revisit what the controversy was actually about:

Mr. Zelaya, a frequent critic of the U.S., has been locked in a growing confrontation with his country’s Congress, courts, and military over his plans for the referendum — planned for Sunday — that would have asked voters whether they want to scrap the constitution, which the president says benefits the country’s elites.

The Supreme Court had ruled the vote was illegal because it flouted the constitution’s own ban on such referendums within six months of elections. The military had refused to take its usual role of distributing ballots. But Mr. Zelaya fired the chief of the army last week and pledged to press ahead.

So fairly early in his first term Obama attempted to defend Zeleya’s power grab against Honduras’ constitution, its military, and its Supreme Court’s attempt to limit him. It was a very ominous sign for the future, as I wrote:

It’s not a mere question of Obama looking on and doing nothing while a Chavez-inspired Zelaya grabs more power; I could understand non-intervention in the Honduran process. But Obama has gone out of his way—in a manner that contradicts his own stated preference for the autonomy of other nations—to actively intervene in Honduran affairs in order to protect Zeleya and his undermining of Honduran due process and its constitution.

There is no benign explanation for this policy of Obama’s. If the American people don’t understand what it tells us about him, it would mean that we have failed to understand history and learn from it.

The Supreme Court is one of the bulwarks against such power grabs, although it can’t stop them by itself. And although the recent 9-0 ruling against Obama’s pretend-recess appointments may be a sign that, if the executive’s offense were especially egregious, even the liberals on the Court might decide to vote against Obama, there’s no question that putting more liberals on its bench is flirting with danger and asking for trouble.

11 Responses to “More SCOTUS: public sector union dues”

  1. parker Says:

    I couldn’t agree more, although I think the majority of voters are a huge obstacle to putting even a rino in the oval office. 2012 has made me very skeptical of the ability my fellow citizens, both legal and illegal, to turn away from the allures of the nanny state.

  2. Susanamantha Says:

    If I remember correctly, Hillary was with Obama on this one.

  3. Ann Says:

    parker,

    I don’t think it’s so much that our fellow citizens are unable to “turn away from the allures of the nanny state” as it is that they are badly misinformed.

    With the issue of contraceptives, for instance, they’ve been led to believe that the big, bad conservatives are determined to outlaw them. The Democrats/MSM have deliberately conflated contraception with abortion, the same way they conflated fetal stem cell research with other stem cell research.

  4. Mike Says:

    The Supreme Court, and the entire State and Federal Court System, as well as the Courts in many Cities has mostly delegitimized itself.

    The days are soon coming when Supreme Court Rulings are treated with the same disdain that half of the Justices have for the Laws and People of this once great nation.

    Hello. Anybody out there have a history or philosophy book handy!!!

    An unjust law – so sayeth Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Martin Luther King – is no law at all.

    Courts regularly impose their will on the people, and wantonly ignore the Constitution. They are no different than Obama and Democrats.

    We the People will do again what we did once before and those will be interesting times…

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    The internet exists. What could they possibly be misinformed about?

    This ain’t the dark ages where women could only learn about tampons and sex from authorities in power, and then get misled by their only sources.

    The people have sources and options. They are just participating in evil not to use them. No free will, no humanity.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    Ymarsakar:

    But a great many people have no idea they’re being misinformed.

    I used to read the Times’ headlines and ledes, and those of the Boston Globe, and often even articles, as well as The New Yorker. I thought I was very well informed and had done my due diligence.

    People are out living their lives, and most don’t have time to be intensive news detectives. No, the misinformation is squarely on the heads of the MSM.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    It is the citizen’s duty to protect their civilization and cast the correct votes. If they cannot do so, their duty is to cast support to no political party and remain neutral.

    Those that obey evil, thinking it is not their problem, will learn what the difference between human judgment and nature and divine judgment soon enough.

  8. parker Says:

    The problem is that the franchise to vote does not require that the voter be informed in a well balanced manner or have a long term stake in the maintenance of a republic based upon the rule of law and the fundamental importance of the sovereignty of the individual citizen.

    The majority no longer understands the foundation of what made America, with all its flaws, the pinnacle of man’s quest for freedom. Without freedom there is only servitude to those who would be your master.

  9. parker Says:

    Ann,

    Willful ignorance is required to be ‘uninformed’.

  10. T Says:

    My question is about Justice Ginsburg. There have been attempts to “gin up” the media and pressure her to retire so that Obama could appoint another liberal in her place. She continues to serve and officiate with no indication that she intends to retire, yet she has certainly not been in the best of health.

    My rhetorical question: Is it possible that, like Jonathan Turley and in spite of Ginsburg’s own decidedly leftist leanings, she sees the danger which Obama represents in his lawlessness and is holding out for his successor whomever that might be? Are 13 unanimous anti-administration SCOTUS rulings a hint?

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    T:

    Here’s my guess about Ginsburg. She really likes likes being a SCOTUS justice, and doesn’t want to retire unless she has to. If her health declines between now and the end of Obama’s term, she resigns and he gets to appoint her replacement. So there’s no reason to retire while Obama still has two and a half more years in office.

    However, if a Republican were to win the 2016 presidential election, I believe she would retire between November of the year and the Republican’s inauguration. Unless I’m misunderstanding the process, that would give Obama the right to appoint her successor. That person would have to be approved by the Senate by a simple majority. Although the filibuster is still in place for SCOTUS nominations, that could probably be changed by Reid in the same way he changed the rule for other judicial nominations. What’s more, no SCOTUS nomination has ever been successfully filibustered (with the exception of an elevation of an Associate Justice to Chief Justice).

    If I am correct and Ginsburg could resign after the 2016 election if a Republican were elected, and have Obama appoint her successor, I believe that’s what she would do.

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