Labor Dodges A Bullet

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For those who think Supreme Court nominees don’t really matter all that much, today’s Court announcement that it has deadlocked, 4-4, on the Friedrichs case, should make you pause and think again. A major catastrophe for labor unions was averted due to the death of Antonin Scalia last month.

A case that seemed poised to deal a major blow to public unions ended in a 4-4 tie on Tuesday at the Supreme Court, effectively delivering a big victory to the unions.

When the case was argued in January, the court’s conservative majority seemed ready to say that forcing public workers to support unions they had declined to join violates the First Amendment.

But the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February changed the balance of power in the case, which was brought by California public schoolteachers who chose not to join unions and objected to paying for the unions’ collective bargaining activities on their behalf.

A ruling in the teachers’ favor would have affected millions of government workers and weakened public-sector unions, which stood to lose fees from both workers who objected to the positions the unions take and those who simply chose not to join while benefiting from the unions’ efforts on their behalf.

Right wing nuts are fighting with all they have to prevent President Obama from filling Scalia’s seat. We should be fighting just as hard for his right to do so, or at a minimum to ensure that we elect a Democrat as our next President. What we should not be doing, however, is saying stupid shit like this and this.

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